Are all tripods created equal?

Dubie

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I guess I should know this by looking at the prices.

I was convinced I didn't have one but my husband kept saying we had one from our old video camera. I got it out today and used it in the eve to take some pictures. First...I need a remote. I could not press the shutter without the whole thing shaking a little with left my first pics blurred...then I used the timer which is a pain.

This one seems thin and flimsy. Would the best thing be to go into a camera store and try different ones?
 

Big Mike

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Tripods run the gamut from $12 table top models to several thousands of dollars.

As with most anything, you get what you pay for.

There is nothing wrong with using a cheap model, as long as it holds your gear securely and is stable enough to do the job. If and when the cheap one breaks on you...then you will know why many photographers choose to use better quality models.

On mid to high level products, the heads and legs are interchangeable. There are different types of heads and different types of legs. Have a look at some different types to get an idea of what would work for you.

When talking tripods there are three things that I think of...
Good Stability, Weight and a Low Price.
Most models will be a combination of two...but not all three.
 

sabbath999

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There is nothing wrong with using a cheap model, as long as it holds your gear securely and is stable enough to do the job.

Hear him.

A lot of the cheap ones, however, don't even hold the equipment steady (especially bigger lenses).
 

Bobby Ironsights

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No, of course not.

The tripod you need, really depends on the camera you are using, how much it weighs and what you demand from it.

My teeny little samsonite seemed fine, until I tried putting my 8 pound crown graphic on it. Then it trembled like a whore in church.

If you want a lightweight tripod, now is the time to buy.

You know how it is, photography goes in fads eh?

In the late 50's and through the sixties, it was speed (remember the f/0.95 canon 50mm?), in the 80's it was the level of zoom, in the 90's it was how fast your autofocus was.

Today, I'd have to say the fad, IMHO in tripods is weight. If you weigh 96 pounds and have arms like noodles, GREAT! All the big name manufacturers have a tripod for you, and I see a bogen in your future. If you backpack the himalayas, great! there's a Manfrotto, or a Gitzo or whatever you want in Carbon fiber filled with helium so it practically levitates.

But let's say you are a normal person, and don't include a canoe or a camel, in your photography gear.There is a secret tripod I wanna tell you about, at about a hundred bucks that is solid as a stone. I've borrowed one from the photo-lab gear closet at the school now, every chance I get. I'll buy one, as soon as christmas is over, and my credit card has recovered.

Technically, it's a "medium format" tripod, but it's solid enough for my large format camera, but handy enough for my 35mm.

It's called a Tiltall tripod, and its design is about 50 years old. Seriously, the parts are interchangeable.

Unfortunately, It doesn't come in carbon fiber anything, and it's not cool enough, or trendy enough to be at your local camera store. No neat graphics, just plain black paint.

http://www.adorama.com/TPTLB.html

Read the reviews.

If you are built like a normal person, man or woman, and don't mind an extra pound of mass...this could be the last tripod you ever buy.
 

RyanLilly

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In my opinion any tripod that shakes or wobbles is unacceptable; that defeats the purpose of using a tripod in the first place.

It kind of hard to judge how good a tripod is by looking at only the price and a picture of it. I would bring your camera to a store and try out a few different models. A tripod should make things easier not more complicated.
 

Big Mike

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And yes, pressing the shutter button with your finger...will, in some ways, eliminate the benefits of using the tripod in the first place...which is to have the camera as still as can be.

A remote is a great accessory but using the self timer is just as good.

Also...if your camera has the option, you will want to use MLU (mirror lock up). This will fire the camera's mirror a few seconds before the shutter opens. This is because the mirror will cause vibrations which could lead to blur.
 

JIP

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As is the case with everything in photography, you get what you pay for. I would say for general use an tripod should run you around $100. I know this sounds like alot but if you get a good one like a Bogen it will last you a lifetime oh yeah expect a good bogen to run about $50-$75 more yet.

Something like this might do it.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/428998-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto_725B_725B_Digi_Black_Tripod.html

personally not being a huge fan of ballheads I wuold go this way.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/480306-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto__190XPROB_Tripod_Legs_Black_.html
 
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Dubie

Dubie

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Thanks for all the advice.
JIP..I really like the first one you linked to! And good price range for me now.

Now convincing the husband that this wobbly cheap thing is not going to work. He doesn't quite understand the whole photography thing. lol
 

Antithesis

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My buddy shoots professionally and his Manfrotto tripod and pistol grip ball head are both on their last legs. They don't always last forever, it depends what you use it for. I know it's cool to drop an absolute ton of money on photography equipment, but one of the best pictures I've ever seen (atleast, that one of my friends took) was taken from atop a skateboard. Just something to think about.

I think I might try one of those Amvona ones, I don't think I'm ready to drop $500 on a tripod.
 

bytch_mynickname

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Thanks for all the advice.
JIP..I really like the first one you linked to! And good price range for me now.

Now convincing the husband that this wobbly cheap thing is not going to work. He doesn't quite understand the whole photography thing. lol

Just tell him a sturdy tripod is cheaper than replacing your equipment when the wobbly tripod dumps it.

Amvona on ebay is a good place to start. I have amvona legs and a pistol grip ball head. It is heavy but sturdy, and it was only $85 shipped. Great deal!
 

Battou

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When talking tripods there are three things that I think of...
Good Stability, Weight and a Low Price.
Most models will be a combination of two...but not all three.

There is an equally important fourth that you touched on but did not mention and that is durability. Some may argue that can be counted in to stability but it's not, I have seen some fairly stable tripods that will bend the moment you even think of pushing the weight capacity as well as some that are built like a rock and wobble if you breath on it.

I happen to have one with the three you mentioned descent stability weight and price but durability is lacking, I have seen reports of the same model breaking under normal use. I may have to sacrifice about ten to twelve inches height for stability but this three pound thirty dollar wonder is fine for me. It is possible to find one with a combination of three but not all four.
 

Helen B

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Thom mentions a lot of Gitzo stuff in his article. Gitzo is a little pricy. Benro (link) (not Benbo) tripods are Chinese knock-offs of Gitzo tripods. They are very good value for money and from what I have seen of them I would not hesitate to buy one. They are sold on eBay. I currently use a Gitzo GT3540LS with a Burzynski head as my light tripod and a Majestic (link) as my heavy studio-type tripod. Majestics are quite cheap on eBay - I paid $65 for mine. All parts are available and replaceable - they could last forever.

Best,
Helen
 

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