What's a decent tripod?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by TJ K, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi I got a d90 and love it but I want to be able to take better lowlight and night photo's and need something to help keep the camera steady. I want a decent tripod that isn't 30 dollars but not 400 either. I also wasn't very sure about how high they're supposed. Well thank you all for your recommendations.
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A decent tripod is:

    1. Strong and sturdy. They are two different things. Strong enough to support the weight of your equipment. Sturdy in terms of the life you get from it. A good tripod can last a lifetime.

    2. A good tripod is a stable platform not subject to outside forces that would cause vibration. Hard wood is best, but heavy and awkward and usually not used for those reasons. Good carbon fiber is both stable and expensive. Aluminum is stable but less expensive.

    3. Minimum and maximum height should be what meets your needs with out extending a center column. Extending the center column decreases stability. The only real combat to this is money. A very good, which usually translates to high dollar, tripod will be pretty stable with the center column extended.

    4. It must be something that you can easily put into use. If you don't use it because it is hard to set up, is time consuming to set up or is too much of a bother to take with you, then it's not much good no matter the cost.

    A decent tripod for any prospective buyer comes down to what their needs are and what they are willing to pay. Read over this article by Throm Hogan. Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan

    You don't have to spend the kind of money Throm does to get a good tripod, but he makes some good points about getting what really suits your needs now, or working your way up to it at a higher cost.
     
  3. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    I had three cheap tripods before I finally bought my Manfrotto 055XPRO. You get what you pay for. The cheap tripods were not steady enough to support a decent telephoto lens and the pan and tilt heads were flimsy, not to mention difficult to adjust quickly in a dynamic situation. I use a ball head now and really find it fits my shooting needs perfectly.

    When you consider how much money you can spend on a camera and lenses, a $200-250 tripod isn't that big of a deal, and it will last you a lifetime.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Look around the used market. Something like Manfrotto 190Pro legs and a 488 ballhead should be available for $200 - $250.
     
  5. saltydog3317

    saltydog3317 TPF Noob!

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    I just bought a Manfrotto 190XPROB with the 804RC2 head all in one kit for $219.99 in Canadian Dollars. Probably cheaper to purchase in the USA. Anyhow, it seems very sturdy and the guy at the shop said it was his best bang for buck tripod he has and that he sells many of this model.

    Kevin
     
  6. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Manfrotto makes excellent products and would be a good place to start. The 055 legs are probably their most popular model with the 190 a close second.
     
  7. ruaslacker2

    ruaslacker2 TPF Noob!

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  8. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was just looking at the Manfrotto 055xprob legs and I like them a lot. But what about a head. Do you want a ball head and do you need quick release? Thanks. I saw the 486 manfrotto ball head but I'm not really sure what i need to look for in a head. Thanks for all the suggestions. Especially gryphonslair99
     
  9. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    I used the MF 486 ball head on a few shoots and liked it... the one lever locks all is nice...

    Ultimately I returned it and picked up a Giottos MH1300 ($135 US) because I do some video pans with it, even motor driven at times... and I like the superior build and friction modus.

    -Shea
     
  10. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    I have the Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod legs with the 488RC2 Midi Ballhead and I'm very happy with this set up. I was looking at the 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs but the owner of the shop I bought my tripod from said the 055XPROB puts the camera at a higher position when the legs are fully extended. The 190XPROB puts the view finder almost right at my eye level. The 055XPROB is heavier too and I may not like lugging it around all day. I'm glad he talked me into the 190XPROB as it's a better fit for me.
     
  11. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    I looked at my first tripods the other day, and it looked like I would get the Manfrotto 190 something or other. It was under $200 and looked sturdy enough for my D90, had quick release clips, a flat head platform etc.. I think that's the one I'll get.

    But, in the meantime, I'm going on a cruise starting saturday and am thinking about getting the Gorillapod tomorrow for being able to wrap around my balcony while the ship is in port to take sunset/sunrise pics. Also thinking maybe for wrapping around a chair at dinner to take some low light pics.

    Do you think this option is worth the $40-$50 that it costs ?

    Thanks,
    floyd
     
  12. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    A few shooters I know have the Gorillapod and they all say the same thing...it's okay for P&S cameras but if you put a DSLR on it the weight of the body and lens makes it start to droop and the lens will drop down (especially the longer zooms). I've never used it myself.
     

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