Vanguard Tripod and Head (or other) recommendation

Woodsman

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I am in the market for a new tripod, of primary concern to me is the stability of the tripod i.e. no jiggle, sway or vibration in wind. Weight is not a consideration and heavy is OK with me. Price range targeted is between 300 and 400 dollars. That said I have been looking at getting the Vanguard Auctus Plus 283AT. I can get it here in Canada for around $350 Cdn which is within my price range. The downside is I cannot see it in the store, its online shopping only. I am unaware of any other tripod as heavy or solid as this one around that price . If anyone knows of one please let me know

The second consideration is a head. I have a Manfrotto head on a monopod today, a 484RC2, so being able to use the same quick connect plate would be a benefit. But its not a necessity. I have been considering the Vanguard SBH-100. What I am worried about is ball slippage. There will be two uses for this tripod and head. One is photography and the other is to mount a small telescope for celestial viewing. Max weight of the telescope would be around 10lbs and ball slipage would be a disaster. Does anyone have any experience with this Vanguard head or a simiilar Manfrotto head ora ny othr that would handle the weight with some to spare? Any issues or recommendations? I woiuld like to keep the head under $150 if possible.

Basically the equipment tht may be mounted would be
Canon T3 with kit lens or 55-250 Canon zoom
Nikon D50 with 70-300 sigma zoom
Telescope 70mm aperature (400 mm or 700mm scopes) refractors, max weight 10.5 lbs

Any experiences with this eequipment or other suggestions would be appreciated, thank you.
 

raventepes

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Something like this Giottos would work.

One thing I keep in mind is advertised load capacity. I recommend a load capacity that's a bit over what you expect to be putting on the tripod. Also, if you "must" have a center column, try to keep it relatively short. columns do vibrate. A shorter one will minimise the effect.

Giottos MTC 280 Short Center Column for Tripods, 4.5in MTL8371B
 

ann

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Let me check on which head I have, as I do have several vanguard ball heads, but off the top of my head I don't remember which.

I have used a d700 with a 70-200 mounted on them using in portrait mode with no issues.
 

Steve5D

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I only first learned about Vanguard tripods when a friend bought one in Portland a few months back. The one she bought was probably not as robust as the one you're considering (it was just south of two bills), but I remember being pretty impressed with it...
 

ann

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the heads I am using are the 340L , one a a mono pod one on a manfrotto carbon fiber tripod and one on another monopod
 
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Woodsman

Woodsman

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Thanks for all the info, I'm going to go the nearest "good" camera store about 60 miles away and look over the tripods and heads. I am still leaning towards the vanguard product line as it is better priced than the manfrotto and seems sturdy. I want to do a hands on before deciding
 

EDL

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I recently purchased this Vanguard: Amazon.com: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH Aluminum Tripod with GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head: Camera & Photo

Center column, yes, but it has a rotatable collar, so you pop it up and it will rotate 360 degrees, you can move the camera out away from legs if necessary, or place the tripod near a table or counter and get the camera close to a subject sitting on said table or counter top, or get the camera under the tripod to shoot down on something on the ground. It's geometries are quite variable.

The GH100 pistol grip ball head seems pretty nice. It is fluid and easy to use.

Although not the heaviest set up, the MP-E65 is a stout lens and the tripod has no problems holding my camera with this lens, twin flash and macro rail rock steady, even when pushed out at an angle on the column. I'm very pleased with it so far.

It is not light weight though at around 5lbs and it doesn't close down too compact (3 section legs). It will fit in my backpack tripod holder but it sticks up a fair ways and if you have light gear in the backpack it wants to cant on your back because of the tripod weight. A center mounted tripod holder would be better, but for a solid tripod I think it's pretty darn good.

I have never used, or even been around any of the more expensive brand name tripods, so I can't really compare them. All I can say is that I am very pleased with this one so far and feel it is a very good deal for what you get.

Be careful with their naming conventions, I messed up when I first ordered and grabbed the 263AGH Alta "Plus". Everything is the same except it does not have the rotating center column, it only moves up and down. The Alta "Pro" has the articulated center column.
 

Aloicious

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One thing I keep in mind is advertised load capacity. I recommend a load capacity that's a bit over what you expect to be putting on the tripod. Also, if you "must" have a center column, try to keep it relatively short. columns do vibrate. A shorter one will minimise the effect.

+1 I look for the highest load capacity I can get, ideally a rating of 2x (or more) the max weight you expect to use on it. there's alot of weight stuff to take into account, body, lens, teleconverter/ext tubes, head, grip (if used), maybe some lighting, cables, sometimes with supertele stuff you might place your hand on top of the lens for added stability, you want to factor in that weight too...

I'd avoid center columns all together, I haven't used one in years and haven't missed them at all, they are a source of vibration which will affect IQ, even when not extended. The tripod I use has a little hook to hang extra weight on it where a center column would be, which helps with some stability.

GOOD carbon fiber is ideal (but avoid low end carbon fiber stuff), but if weight and bulk aren't too much of an issue with you, you might look at higher end aluminum pods if you want to save some coin. I've got an aluminum Gitzo GT3330LS which when I got it ran about ~$300 give or take, and I've been very very happy with it, load rating of almost 40lbs, I've used it with everything including a 600mm f4 with great results. I've recently upgraded to a higher end carbon fiber pod for the super telephoto stuff, but I still use the aluminum one for lots of things, in fact my geared head lives on the aluminum pod. Though that was several years ago that I got the aluminum gitzo, I don't know how available they are nowadays.

I'm not overly familiar with the Vanguard lines, but test 'em out and see how they do. As far as heads, that's more of a personal preference thing, I don't like ballheads at all, I have a manfrotto 410 geared head that I like a lot, very stable, very precise, but slow to move around, really good for non-moving subjects, for long telephoto stuff I have a Wimberley gimbal head which is great for supertele and heavy equipment as it can balance it exceptionally well, plus I prefer the arca/swiss type connection rather than having to have a special quick release plate. but the gimbal head is a bit out of your desired price range. if you like ball heads, the RRS ballheads are exceptional and come in a few different flavors/costs and start around $175ish and go up from there depending on size and options.
 

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