If you had 400 dollars..


TPF Noob!
Dec 8, 2006
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to spend on a tripod + head, what would you buy?

I know there are numerous tripod threads and I have read them all, but I can't seem to gather all of the collective wisdom I have read to make a decision. I really like the Gitzo's carbon fiber, but at the present time, I can't justify spending double my budget on a tripod.

I'm also planning on getting the Nikon 12-24, which is about 900...so i'd like to stay around 400 (give or take) for the tripod at the moment. I currently use a cheap one that I got at best buy.

As for what I will be using it for, I mostly shoot landscape and in cities. I like to walk around big cities and shoot interesting things in the day and night. I extremely rarely do portrait type stuff, and even when i do, i shoot handheld b/c lighting is generally a non issue.

Also, should I skimp a little on the legs and go for a better head? What draws me to the Gitzo's is the light weight. I can see myself carrying that around with me all day..on and off buses, subways, walking around the park, downtown, etc.
Hmmm. I would say get what you desire, since that is what I would do, even if it's a little more because that nagging in the back of my head will knaw at me. Don't skimp on the legs, its what's holding your $900 lens up!!! Those light Gitzo's are nice though. What model were you looking at? I wavered on the Explorer but am perfectly happy with my Manfrotto 190XPROB. Still light at 5 lbs w/ head. The carbon-fiber models were actually heavier but more rigid.
I got these Manfroto legs and they are sturdy, but heavy at the end of the day. I also got my first ball head, a Manfrotto as well, but really like it. For landscapes you may want to consider a panhead, but did I mention I like my ball head?
Here are some of the legs I was looking at:

Bogen / Manfrotto 055MF3 Magfiber Pro Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod Legs - Supports 15.5 lb (7 kg) $312.95

Giottos MT-8250 MT II Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 15 lbs (6.8 kg) $269.99, 3.1lbs

Giottos MT-8260 MT II Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 22 lbs (10 kg) $309.95, 4.2lbs
For compactness, I actually prefer the 055MF4 version. Extends higher also. Not the lightest thing in the world, but rock solid.
Well. At 4.4 pounds, it is only 1.3 pounds heavier then the Gitzo I was looking at (Gitzo GT2530, weighs in at 3.1 pounds).
Have you looked at Amvona legs and heads? That way would keep you way under budget but get you a decent setup, heavy but sturdy.
I'm thinking of going with the Markins Q-ball Q3 and the Giottos MT-8250 MT II Classic Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs. That puts me at only about 140 bucks over my price i wanted to pay. lol.

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