New tripod and head needed

Nevermore1

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Hey, I've been gone for a long time - first I was just busy with life then I lost my best friend of the past 20 years (he was more of an overprotective brother/son/spare husband; to say he was my best friend is an understatement - even my husband said we were more like an "old married couple who loves to pick on each other") and photography buddy right before Christmas and have just been depressed with absolutely no motivation to do anything with photography (or anything else, I pulled my camera out today for the first time since Christmas).

Anyways, I'm forcing myself to go out next week and get photos of something and realized that I've pretty much "lost" my tripod to my daughter and am in need of a new one. Yes, I could take it back but her concentration for AP Photography is Nighttime Photography so she kinda needs it and it gives me an excuse to upgrade. I really need recommendations (I used the search function but just got overwhelmed with all the results of threads). I'm not very knowledgeable on tripods and know nothing about the different heads. The one my daughter stole was a Manfrotto that I got at BJ's Wholesale about 10 years ago and I think the head it came with is more for video cameras (has a handle on it). Right now I'm looking at possibly spending up to $300 but could go a little higher if it's worth it. Obviously it needs to be sturdy but preferably not too heavy as I do a lot of hiking and am planning some trips with another friend to some out of the way places and overseas trips in the future so I need something that's not too difficult to transport and carry. I'm not in a huge rush, planning to buy it at the end of the month and would consider purchasing two different tripods if needed (one for now and one a little further out for my trips). Thanks!
 

Ihatemymoney

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Hey, I've been gone for a long time - first I was just busy with life then I lost my best friend of the past 20 years (he was more of an overprotective brother/son/spare husband; to say he was my best friend is an understatement - even my husband said we were more like an "old married couple who loves to pick on each other") and photography buddy right before Christmas and have just been depressed with absolutely no motivation to do anything with photography (or anything else, I pulled my camera out today for the first time since Christmas).

Anyways, I'm forcing myself to go out next week and get photos of something and realized that I've pretty much "lost" my tripod to my daughter and am in need of a new one. Yes, I could take it back but her concentration for AP Photography is Nighttime Photography so she kinda needs it and it gives me an excuse to upgrade. I really need recommendations (I used the search function but just got overwhelmed with all the results of threads). I'm not very knowledgeable on tripods and know nothing about the different heads. The one my daughter stole was a Manfrotto that I got at BJ's Wholesale about 10 years ago and I think the head it came with is more for video cameras (has a handle on it). Right now I'm looking at possibly spending up to $300 but could go a little higher if it's worth it. Obviously it needs to be sturdy but preferably not too heavy as I do a lot of hiking and am planning some trips with another friend to some out of the way places and overseas trips in the future so I need something that's not too difficult to transport and carry. I'm not in a huge rush, planning to buy it at the end of the month and would consider purchasing two different tripods if needed (one for now and one a little further out for my trips). Thanks!

Take a look at the Induro tripods I very much like mine.
Do not buy a Manfrotto ball head with a RC2 quick connection .
 

spiralout462

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I love my Vanguard Abeo +! Its not that portable at 7 lbs. I would check out their Alta Pro series.
 

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Right now I'm looking at possibly spending up to $300 but could go a little higher if it's worth it. Obviously it needs to be sturdy but preferably not too heavy as I do a lot of hiking and am planning some trips with another friend to some out of the way places and overseas trips in the future so I need something that's not too difficult to transport and carry. I'm not in a huge rush, planning to buy it at the end of the month and would consider purchasing two different tripods if needed (one for now and one a little further out for my trips). Thanks!
I'm sorry you lost your friend.

The head you had is called a "pan" head, the other style is called a "ball" head.

Ideally, you would save up until you could purchase a carbon fiber set of legs that would shorten to fit into a suitcase. One problem, aside from the cost, is that if it's short when contracted, it will be short when it is extended as well. Tall people need to shop for taller tripods.

So your budget as it is now is going to limit you to aluminum legs and if you shop for a complete set, (includes a head) you should be able to find one to fit your budget.

Shop at the usual online sources, such as Adorama, B&H, and KEH.
 
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Derrel

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A year ago, we had a member who reviewed three moderately-priced tripods...he had some good real-life experiences with them.

If there ever existed a TPF topic that could use a sticky thread, it might be this one: What tripod would be best for me? We could have categories like what tripods are well suited for hiking and backpacking; serious nature or landscape work done close to a vehicle or within easy walking distance; best tripod for long-exposure and high-magnification work; what tripod is best for portraiture or family photography, etc..

I am seeing more and more interest in 'economy' priced 'pods, like the $54.95 one being sold currently by a major retailer, complete with a small-platform ball-head. Altura I believe it is. The classic Manfrotto 3001 leg set has been around a long time. There are legions of Made in China Gitzo imitators.
 

pixmedic

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I dropped some money on my Manfrotto 290 tripod and Manfrotto 804RC2 pan head, but they are built like a tank and have worked fantastically for years.
highly recommended.
 

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Manfrotto products usually hit the price/quality sweet spot for many applications. For me, their great advantages are fixability(parts availability) and modular design(swappable parts). QR plate adapters can be changed on most of their ballheads to suit varying loads with plates having larger or smaller contact areas. The aluminum tube leg sets like the 190 and o55 series are virtually bomb-proof and good value.

I'd shy away from Chinese-made Gitzo knock-offs and off-brand ball heads. Spend less, get less. Think about the money sitting on the tripod and then think again about the few bucks saved on that bargain, "just as good" leg set that could hit the deck when a leg lock slips.
 
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Nevermore1

Nevermore1

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Thanks everyone! I will look up the suggestions posted so far!

I'm currently planning a short outing this weekend to take some photos. Hopefully, I'll find someplace new and interesting to help keep my mind off of "where's Dave???" I think that's going to be the hardest part...

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Nevermore1

Nevermore1

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Okay, change in budget and looking for additional suggestions. I was going toorder a new tripod this weekend but received a call from Geico today. They finally finished reviewing my medical bills from my wreck in September and offered their settlement. The check went out today so I should have it sometime next week. Most is going to pay off bills but I think I can set aside $800-1000 as "play $" and still have some left over for savings. So, any new/additional recommendations? I'd rather not spend the full amount I set aside (since it can go to savings instead) but I figure since I have the extra $ I might as well get a good tripod instead of settling for one as a quick replacement and then be looking to upgrade in another year or two. I may be spending more now but hopefully in the long run it will be cheaper.

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spiralout462

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I still stick with my Vanguard Abeo recommendation. Quality stuff, no doubt.
 
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Nevermore1

Nevermore1

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Just wanted to say thanks again for all the suggestions.
I went to my local store today and was going to see if they had any of the Vanguard Pro line tripods, they had a few of the Abeo's but were low on stock. After speaking with the sales guy who recommended some of the MeFoto tripods he also recommended a Sirui one which he said he'd wished he'd known about before he purchased his MeFoto one. After looking at it I ended up with a Sirui ET-2204 with a E-20 ball head. He said he thinks it will be enough for what I usually do and I liked it because it doesn't weigh a ton for traveling. Now just hoping I still like it once I get out and start using it.

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spiralout462

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Congratulations!!! It should serve you well for many years!
 

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