Tripods - expensive "or not?"

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Mystwalker, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    Today I use a $30 tripod from Walmart. It works well, but then I've never used anything else so really have no frame of reference.

    Recently, I attached the 70-200 f/2.8IS L, and it looked awfully fragile. Basically, I always had left hand on lens or hovering under lens to catch if something snaps.

    I've looked at tripods + pricing on Amazon and on B&H - OUCH!!:confused:

    Besides the ability to hold heavier objects, is there anything different (better?) about the Bogen/Manfrotto models? I'm not too concerned about weight of tripod so do not need to go for one of those ultra expensive composite models. $100-$300 for an accessory to me seem awfully expensive, but compared to the 70-200 snapping off and getting smashed, it's cheap :D

    Any recommendations is also greating appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tennessee Landscape

    Tennessee Landscape TPF Noob!

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    I use a Manfrotto that took me past Mr. Ben Franklin, but it's good and sturdy......I like it a lot, and have taken a good bit of night photography with exposures over 20 - 25 seconds without any shake.....
     
  3. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    I have an old metal tripod. Heavy and all but it's solid, so I'm using it for now.
     
  4. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    I just got a Manfrotto 055 XProB, and it's supposed to support up to 14 lbs. I haven't used it much yet, but it does seem really nice and solid. I would not trust 70-200 mm lens w/a DSLR on a Walmart tripod.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    When talking about buying a tripod, you can break it into three main factors:
    Light Weight ---- Low Price ---- Sturdy

    Pick only two.
    :er:

    The 'head' is often as expensive as the legs. You need to get a head that will support the weight of your gear. Most legs won't have a problem with that weight, as long as the extension locks are sound.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I have a Majestic that I bought on eBay for $60 complete with gear head. Nobody seems to want them. It needed a bit of maintenance to tighten it up. They are very robust, and parts are readily available from Bencher in the USA. If you aren't bothered about weight, I can recommend them.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    If $100-300 is too much I suggest you get a different hobby. I started out with a what I can assume to be a similar cheap tripod as I got more into photography I upgraded to a lighter weight yet better quality manfrotto tripod. Its perfect for hiking and carrying long distances and is well built and sturdy, although as I am getting into different things such as portrait and product photography I am finding I might need a better tripod that is easier to make small adjustments to.
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    :lmao:

    Big Mike has a standard answer going on and it's much shorter than mine, but I'll link you to read Thom Hogan's thoughts on tripods.
     
  9. D40

    D40 TPF Noob!

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    GET A GOOD TRIPOD, I need a better one as the one I have almost caused my 70-200 to fall:( Luckily it just tilted downward since it could not hold the weight.
     
  10. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    Woa! Read that article - he's a mind reader or all newbs are like me and he has met many. I'm still at the 4th stage, but I'm using something lower then what he expected ($75 tripod).

    I know I can't afford a Gitzo which is what he recommended as "low end" - I think. Price of Gitzo legs alone will far exceed $$ I have left in budget.

    But from what I read, I did get the general idea that I want to get a "ball" type head. I went to Ritz hoping they would have some ball models I can pick up, turn, kick, etc ... No luck. All they had were Quantaray which seemed sturdy enough, but they use the same "3 control" adjustment I have on my Walmart model. Glad I didn't buy one of those cuz I would've gone into newb stage 5 of Thom's article.

    I would like to get away from the "3 control" version because I often get confused with which one to tighten/loosen, etc ...

    So ... am wondering, how secure are the ball models? I am thinking about a Manfrotto 488RC2 which is rated at 16+ lbs. Is this rating based on weight of equipment or amt of twisting power (torque?) applied when camera + lens are mounted? Is 16 lbs overkill for camera+lens which probably weigh 6-7lbs (30D plus 70-200) at most?

    Does Manfrotto have a ball head that also allow panoramic?

    For legs, I'm leaning towards the 055XProB. I think this plus above head with shipping will be right around $300 from B&H.

    I did a search for Majestic tripod on Ebay - good price and looks sturdier then anything I've looked at so far, but the weight is a killer. I'm a wimp, do not think I can lug around 35lbs for more then 10-15 mins :mrgreen:
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    The 055X ProB is a good tripod at a good price. The vertical/horizontal column arrangement is a useful feature. I bought one for a friend recently.

    A 17 lb rating for a head is not overkill for a 6 lb camera - in fact it is more like a sensible margin. I don't think I'd want to put a 17 lb camera on the 488 head. I'd consider the plain 488 instead of the quick release RC2 version.

    The 488 has a pan base, but that isn't much use for panoramic photography, unless there is a leveller below the ball head. You need to be able to level the plane of rotation, so from the ground up this is the sequence:

    tripod legs
    leveller (ball head, levelling column, levelling base, levelling bowl etc)
    rotation base
    slide (if required)
    camera

    The slide (aka nodal slide) enables you to locate the entrance pupil (not one of the nodal points - a very common error) of the lens over the axis of rotation for accurate stitching. The entrance pupil can be seen when you look into the lens: it is the image of the iris (aperture), and you will probably be able to see it move quite a lot as you zoom.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  12. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why? I am thoroughly enjoying the hobby of photography with a $200 camera and a $30 tripod (Walmart). For a fixed lens camera, the tripod available at Walmart is a perfectly good inexpensive alternative.

    Yes, I wouldn't put something with a large seperate lens on it, as you get into big money with non-fixed lens cameras. Thus it would be beneficial to buy something more sturdy.

    It really bugs me the snobbish attitude with hobbies (not necessarily just photography) when people state that you need to be rich to enjoy it. I enjoy photography just fine with my $230 worth of equipment and I also enjoy RC flying with my $99 RTF aircraft, another hobby that the rich like to tout that you need big money to enjoy.
     

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