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Tripod recommendations appreciated

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.
In my opinion, the main difference between the two styles comes down to how they work. A ball head makes it easy to make small adjustments in the camera angle, and they are handy when taking photos of still life (flowers, for instance). A pan head will allow the same position, but you might have to adjust two or three different adjustments to get it there. No big deal, IMO if you're not in a hurry.
 
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.
Complete agreement with the others. Find a good used one, and depending on the local population size, you may be able to find one on eBay or Craig's List. In my area alone, there are a number of Bogen/Manfrotto, Slik, and other quality used ones for as little as 25% the original cost. A good Manfrotto 3021 made of aluminum, is a good starter; as are some of the Gitzo models.

I would opt for a 3-way head first. Unless you buy a quality ball head, the locking can be suspect, and the free rolling of the ball head is very difficult to control for a newbie.

I've used Bogen/Manfrotto for years, and they're built well. I still use a Bogen 3036 for my large format camera.

Here's my tale of woe: I wanted a carbon fiber tripod, and a local shop had their Promaster brand for around $300. I bought it and mounted a Manfrotto Gimbal on it. It seemed very steady, and I used it for a number of bird shots, as well as some landscape and architectural shots with my D750.

On Memorial Day, the Promaster failed me. No, it didn't break, but when using my D750 and 200-500mm f5.6 zoom, it was clearly unsteady, even with the legs locked down completely, as I tried following a B-25 Mitchell flyover.

The next day, I was at another shop and purchased a Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3. It's far steadier and it's become my daily tripod of choice, even with my Mamiya 645 and C330 film cameras.
 
A good ballhead is **very** expensive since it requires plenty of precision engineering. A good 3-way head or pan-and-tilt (same thing, different names for it) is EASY to make and simple, and is often low-cost for good serviceable quality. Yes, I would consider a 3-way head, by all means. I've had several 3-way tripod heads, all were decent. Simple. The old-school way to do a tripod head. A cheap ballhead will likely be fast to operate, but might suffer from sag when you let go of the camera/lens combo. That can make composing precisely difficult.

VidPro sounds like a OEM'd name, likely made in China, and named VidPro by the importer or distributor. TPF has had many, many threads about tripods. I would do a search, and read through some of those for more info. Most of your questions have been covered in great detail in older threads. This thread too has some good basic advice.
 
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OP, another way to put it is:
Sturdy, Light, Cheap. Pick any two.

My favorite tripod is an older Bogen/Manfrotto. It has 2-section legs (top aluminum, bottom section legs are steel), and yet it goes very low to the ground if needed, and weighs in at a svelte 13 pounds, plus the weigh tripod head (1.5 pounds,maybe?), which is an old Gitzo magnesium ball-head without a quick-release plate. Not very good for hiking.

This 20-plus-years-old tripod model has been modified a bit and updated a new model name, and is now called the Manfrotto 058B. it is SUPER-sturdy!

I bought my first cheap carbon fiber tripod in 2014, from Adorama. Has three-section screw-lock legs. Flimsy in some ways, yet is can be used for some things. Very light in weight. The model has been discontinued, got it for $99 on close-out.
 
OP, another way to put it is:
Sturdy, Light, Cheap. Pick any two.

My favorite tripod is an older Bogen/Manfrotto. It has 2-section legs (top aluminum, bottom section legs are steel), and yet it goes very low to the ground if needed, and weighs in at a svelte 13 pounds, plus the weigh tripod head (1.5 pounds,maybe?), which is an old Gitzo magnesium ball-head without a quick-release plate. Not very good for hiking.

This 20-plus-years-old tripod model has been modified a bit and updated a new model name, and is now called the Manfrotto 058B. it is SUPER-sturdy!

I bought my first cheap carbon fiber tripod in 2014, from Adorama. Has three-section screw-lock legs. Flimsy in some ways, yet is can be used for some things. Very light in weight. The model has been discontinued, got it for $99 on close-out.

We share a lot in common. My favorite tripod is an old aluminum 2 section legged Bogen. I have it equipped currently with a Tiltall ball head. I also have an old Calumet tripod that is just too heavy for me to carry any more. There is a huge studio tripod with a dolly down in the basement somewhere. It used to hold my view camera back in the day. Also a Bogen.
 
Thank you all very much.

Hearing about the specific brands and products you prefer was particularly helpful.
I have a good starting point now, and a better idea of what to look for.

I’ll try to find a good tripod with 3-section legs and removable head, even if this means spending more or having to save longer.

I just guess it will be difficult to find something that is lightweight and tall enough for my height (without extending the center column, that is) and reasonably priced. But you have warned me: sturdy, light, cheap - pick any two, right? :1247:

Thank you all again.
 
Tripods are very expensive. Make sure you get the one you really like, so you avoid getting a second tripod. It is a good long termed investment. You local camera shop let you try out all the tripods on displayed.
 
As far as I know, all heads are removable.
Good point. In some way or another they probably are all removable. What I should have said was a "Standardized removable head". My intent was to infer that most better tripods will have a 3/8" stud (or something in that area) that allows most quality heads to fit it whereas most "Cheap" tripods will have, at best, a 1/4" x 20 thread that will only fit very lightweight heads.

I have an old POS tripod (or I should say "Pieces" of an old POS tripod) in the basement that came with a plastic pan head. The top of the spider, which was also plastic, was molded as the bottom of the head. So while the head could be removed it wasn't really a tripod any longer ;)

Which brings up another rule of thumb: Absolutely **NO** plastic load-bearing pieces. Plastic thumb locks: OK. Plastic adjusting screw heads: OK. Pretty much anything else: Hell no!
 
Thank you all very much again - you have been really helpful.

After lots of research, I am considering buying one of the two tripods below, and adding a good head. They both seem to satisfy my three main requirements - and there aren't many tripods out there that have all these three characteristics at this price point:
  • size under 21.5 in (to fit in carry-on luggage)
  • not as expensive as carbon fiber ones, but still light enough to be carried during walks
  • tall enough for a six foot three person (subtracting height of head and camera).
Giottos Silk Road YTL9214 Aluminum Tripod With Classic Lift Center Column:
  • Price: $199
  • Accessories: just Allen keys
  • Load Capacity: 22 lb
  • Max Height: 73.2"
  • Max Height without center column: 61"
  • Min Height: 7.1"
  • Folded Length: 21.3"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 4.8 lb
Sirui W-2004 Waterproof Aluminum Alloy Tripod:
  • Price: $180
  • Accessories: Case, Shoulder and Monopod Straps, Steel Spikes
  • Load Capacity: 39.7 lb
  • Max Height: 70.9"
  • Max Height without center column: 57.9"
  • Min Height: 6.1"
  • Folded Length: 20.5"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 4.6 lb
The Giottos is a bit heavier, not waterproof and includes less accessories - on the other hand, it's a bit taller without center column than the Sirui.

I would really appreciate your advice before buying one of the two, in terms of quality and aspects that I might not have considered. Thank you very much again!
 
I was surprised the Really Right Stuff wasn't mentioned in this thread. I have used their products for years and I have never had a problem.
 
I hate that locking mechanism. think of it like an elevator fail-safe. You can always move the legs inward, but that tab simply locks into the gear when you try to open them back up again.

Here's a direct Chinese import Zomei:

upload_2017-7-23_10-34-55.png



and here's a manfrotto element:

upload_2017-7-23_10-34-43.png



and the suri you posted:


upload_2017-7-23_10-35-54.png


mefoto globetrotter:

upload_2017-7-23_10-36-56.png



I think if anything will fail on these tripods above, it will be those latches, then you're SOL.

To be honest, the Zomei Z688 above, I have in my possession. Fully extended, I can put all my body weight on it, and it doesn't budge. If I wanted a travel tripod that I used time-to-time, I could probably live with it. If I needed a workhorse, I'd go with something more substantial and better constructed. For example the mefoto above, just looks machined better. a lot beefier. Otherwise, the thing just had a little play on the vertical shaft I disliked, but the ballhead could carry the weight of my d610 w/grip and 70-200 2.8 -- and for under $100...

However, I decided to return it for something a little more geared for studio work, and not travel.

If you start actually comparing these things, I dont see how the price tag justifies what youre getting from some of these brands.

but something like this seems substantially better constructed:

upload_2017-7-23_10-57-8.png
 

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