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Tripod recommendations appreciated

LukeUSDreamer

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Hi guys,

I'm new here, and would really appreciate your advice!

I'm looking to buy a cheap tripod for my camera. I know I'll likely feel the need to upgrade to a better one in the future, and then I'll buy the best tripod with an Arca-Swiss quick release system.

For now, my budget is around $100-150. I currently have a Nikon D80, but would like to be able to occasionally use the tripod with my father's heavier Nikon D750 + 300mm lens. I am 6'3" tall. I enjoy hiking, so I would prefer a tripod that could be easily carried.

I am undecided between the two tripods below: the Slik Pro 700DX (should I buy just the tripod for $100 and purchase a ball head separately, or go for the $140 version that comes with a 3-Way Pan Head?) and the VidPro At-72 Venturemaxx 72" (on paper, it has much better specs, but what about the quality? I can't find any reviews online). I am also open to additional recommendations (for example, I've heard good things of the Davis & Sanford Magnum P343).

Thank you very much for your help!

:05.18-flustered:

Slik Pro 700DX: $100 alone - $140 with Pan head, supports 15 lbs, maximum height 74", weighs 7 lbs, folded length 30', 3 leg sections with flip locks.

VidPro At-72 Venturemaxx 72": $105 with heavy duty 33mm quick release ball head, supports 20 lbs, maximum height 72", weighs 4 lbs, folded length 20', 4 leg sections with twist locks.
 
To me, a cheap tripod is more like $25 new, maybe $5 used at a rummage sale. That's a cheap tripod. Then you throw this line out:
..would like to be able to occasionally use the tripod with my father's heavier Nikon D750 + 300mm lens. I am 6'3" tall. I enjoy hiking, so I would prefer a tripod that could be easily carried.
Suddenly, your idea of "cheap" does not fit the projected requirements.
 
Tripod factors:
•cost
•weight
•stability

To get the perfect combination of low weight plus high stability you're gonna have to endure high cost.
 
.. would like to be able to occasionally use the tripod with my father's heavier Nikon D750 + 300mm lens. I am 6'3" tall. I enjoy hiking, so I would prefer a tripod that could be easily carried.
I found a tripod that covers those possible uses:

Gitzo GT3532 + GH3382QD

(.. recommended for professional DSLRs with 300mm lenses (up to a maximum of 400mm)

(review comments)
"Light, sturdy, and beautiful!

By Ahmad A. - Semi-Pro

Great tripod that is so light for its size and super sturdy! Strongly recommend for semi-pros and pros alike."

Above your stated budget, but if you get this now, you won't need to be thinking about another one later.
 
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Thank you both very much.

Suddenly, your idea of "cheap" does not fit the projected requirements.

Agreed! :02.47-tranquillity:

I found a tripod that covers those possible uses:
Gitzo GT3532 + GH3382QD

I wish I could afford that. Unfortunately, it's priced at 10x my budget ($1.2k+).

Can anyone tell me if VidPro makes good quality tripods in general?
The VidPro At-72 Venturemaxx 72 has very good specs for my needs and a ball head.
Would you choose that over the Slik Pro 700DX with a 3-way Pan head?
 
If you read between the lines of the above posts you'll see that most people are not going to recommend a "Cheap" tripod simply because they lack the stability and reliability to be useful. That isn't to say that a decent tripod in the $100 range doesn't exist, just that most of us haven't run across one we would trust to hold up our camera. I would hate to be the one to have to tell your father that his D750 and 300mm lens hit the ground because my "Cheap" tripod failed.

For $100 my suggestion would be to look for a used Manfrotto on Craig's List or something. I use and trust that brand and while you won't get a new one for $100 I have seen used ones in that range.
 
I wish I could afford that. Unfortunately, it's priced at 10x my budget.
I wish I could afford it as well. For tripods, shop the used tripod market. Unless they are obviously damaged, not much can go wrong with them. Get a good brand name unit for about 1/10 of the cost of new. My "intermediate" tripod was purchased from a fellow member of TPF in the "buy and sell" forum. It is not as heavy as my heavy legs, and lots more sturdy than my cheap tripod. I think it could hold the weight of a big telephoto, but I would be careful of where and how I set it up.
 
Look for a used tripod. Manfrotto or a Bogen-imported (older) Manfrotto-made leg set. $100 or so, maybe less at the right outlet.
 
Find a used, fairly heavy, aluminum legged tripod. Don't even think about a cheap carbon fiber. They aren't stable enough.
 
Heavy I've got. I seldom take them anywhere because I might wish I had an equipment dolly to get them from the car to wherever I need them. I should weigh them someday.

But Incredible Hulk stout! They easily hold my weight. (Not that I need to be on the tripod.)
 
One thing I found out about tripods and heads is you really do have to spend a bit to get something really solid unless you look for a good used one for cheap.Not recommending this because you said cheap but take a look at really right stuff for example top shelf stuff ,the ball heads alone can run $400 plus put that on there legs and it becomes a $1500.00 dollar tripod.Cha Ching.
 
Thank you all very much for your help, I really appreciate it.

David: Yes, I quickly realized that a good tripod can be expensive. I will probably end up needing to upgrade to a better one in the future.

Scott, Designer, Derrel, Fred: Thank you for your advice. I will definitely try to see if I can find a good used tripod online (I saw B&H, Adorama and Amazon have them).

May I just ask you which brands I can trust, in terms of quality - besides Bogen-Manfrotto? Has anyone heard of VidPro?

Also, would you recommend going for a tripod with a 3-way head, considering my budget? I have been told that good ball heads are expensive, and that a tripod with a 3-way head might be a better choice in my case than one with a cheap ball head.

Thank you.
 
All of the well-known companies have good models and not-so-good models. Benro, Davis and Sanford, Giottos, Induro, Gitzo, Bogen, Manfrotto, and others are all good brands. Make sure any tripod you choose has a weight limit at least twice what you expect to put on it. I prefer 3-section legs to 4-section legs. If the manufacturer has the word "Pro" in the name I generally steer clear of them.

If it comes with a head make sure it is removable so it can be changed out for a better one. Good ball heads or gimbal heads, like good tripods, are not cheap nor are they inexpensive.

When considering tripods the word "Cheap" really needs to be eliminated from your vocabulary. I understand your issue, but keep in mind that when your camera is on a tripod that tripod and head are the ONLY things keeping it from hitting the ground. Hard! If a leg lock fails or the stud holding the head on fails or a cheap head combined with a larger lens lets the camera pivot forward there is a good chance of it falling over.

I have 2 Manfrotto tripods, both are the 190 series and one is aluminum while the other is carbon fiber. My head of choice is a Manfrotto 054-Q2 ball head but I also have a Manfrotto 410 geared head. They aren't top of the line but I've had them for years and they are solid and reliable. I've been the "Cheap" and "Inexpensive" routes and I'm telling you from experience, as have others, that it's a waste of time and money. You would be infinitely better off saving a bit longer and getting something good than you would wasting it now on a throw-away tripod.
 
Well, why not save more money and buy a better one. A 3-way head tripod is much better. Since you like hiking outside, it is important to carry a flexible, and lightweight tripod. Trust me, it will overcome all terrian easily and you don't need to worry about it.
 

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