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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Tripods for Dummies
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04/30/2011 11:00:06 AM · #1
Hey guys,
I am wanting to get a tripod but I don't know what makes one better than the other. Here's what I want to do with it.
1) Landscape photography
2) Night photography
3) Family pictures

This is purely a hobby spending purchase (I have a 400d) so it doesn't have to be top of the line.

Thanks for the help,

Evan
04/30/2011 11:22:54 AM · #2
You will probably do what most of us do; buy a cheap tripod, use it only occasionally because it is too flimsy and heavy, get more serious about your photography, get better gear which gets heavier as well, buy a series of better tripods and ball heads over the years, and finally buy the best you can buy wondering why you didn't do that to begin with.
I finally went to the last step with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head on a Gitzo GT3541LS tripod and couldn't be happier. Sure it cost some big bucks as well.

Message edited by author 2011-04-30 19:15:07.
04/30/2011 11:23:30 AM · #3
The factors I'd consider are:
-weight/stability -- will it hold stil in the wind
-rigidity -- are the legs stiff when extended
-pan or ball head -- the former probably better for panoramic landscapes
-smoothness of head operation
-ease and security of locking in place of moving parts
-one or more leveling guides

A few years ago I got a SLIK tripod with aluminum legs with a pan head for around $100 which has held up pretty well, even though I took it apart a couple of times for air travel and I think I lost a couple of small pieces.

Like my cameras, it can do almost anything, but none of them exceptionally well. For example, the legs can be splayed way out to bring the camera down to maybe a foot off the ground, and the camera can be mounted (upside down) on the bottom of the post, or even on a small mount along the side of one leg.

It's kind of bulky and heavy, if you plan on hiking very far for your landscapes you might want to consider a newer, lighter (and more expensive) carbon fiber model. With lighter tripods you might want to rig up a way to hang a weight from the center-post after it's set up to minimize wind vibration.
04/30/2011 11:40:42 AM · #4
Originally posted by franktheyank:


I finally went to the last step with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head on a Gitzo GT3541LS tripod and couldn't be happier.


Exactly the same combo here, excellent stuff. I second Frank's opinion, if you can afford it and plan on spending significant time taking photos, go for it and don't look back!
04/30/2011 12:02:16 PM · #5
Originally posted by franktheyank:

.... buy a seies of better tripods and ball heads over the years, and finally buy the best you can buy wondering why you didn't do that to begin with.

Glad it's not just me then!

Message edited by author 2011-04-30 12:02:44.
04/30/2011 06:40:27 PM · #6
Originally posted by salmiakki:

Originally posted by franktheyank:

.... buy a seies of better tripods and ball heads over the years, and finally buy the best you can buy wondering why you didn't do that to begin with.

Glad it's not just me then!


Or, you can do what I did.

Visit friends in different parts of the world, forget your tripod at home on every single occasion and end up with a variety of them. Then you end up purchasing a rather expensive unit which you are almost afraid to bring anywhere with you for fear of losing it.

Life is so simple eh?

Ray
04/30/2011 06:52:34 PM · #7
Google and consider the Benro Travel Angel series: carbon fiber, significantly lower cost than gitzo, and unique folding away system that makes it very compact and easy to transport. I have one and it quickly became my main tripod: sturdy, strong, light, portable. I have a $1300 carbon fiber gitzo that I bought a long time ago for my view camera--used to use it for dslrs until I got the benro. The gitzo sits in the corner, lonely and unused....
04/30/2011 07:15:12 PM · #8
Costs are going to increase exponentially the less a tripod weights. This is the tripod that I have, use, and love. The legs are strong, sturdy, and not terribly heavy. The ball head makes manipulation a piece of cake. The quick release plate is a must.
05/02/2011 01:21:51 AM · #9
Originally posted by chromeydome:

Google and consider the Benro Travel Angel series: carbon fiber, significantly lower cost than gitzo, and unique folding away system that makes it very compact and easy to transport. I have one and it quickly became my main tripod: sturdy, strong, light, portable. I have a $1300 carbon fiber gitzo that I bought a long time ago for my view camera--used to use it for dslrs until I got the benro. The gitzo sits in the corner, lonely and unused....


Which Benro do you have?
05/02/2011 01:29:09 AM · #10
Originally posted by chromeydome:

Google and consider the Benro Travel Angel series

I have a Benro, though it's not one of the ones Chromey refers to. I have an A-198. Sturdy, lots of useful features and a very reasonable price. Amazon offers it for $134.

For something that I can carry with me all day, I have a modified Manfrotto 798B. Do not use this tripod with a DSLR as it comes out of the box. The crappy ballhead is too weak to support one.

Message edited by author 2011-05-02 01:31:06.
05/02/2011 02:22:48 AM · #11
Originally posted by dleach:

Originally posted by chromeydome:

Google and consider the Benro Travel Angel series: carbon fiber, significantly lower cost than gitzo, and unique folding away system that makes it very compact and easy to transport. I have one and it quickly became my main tripod: sturdy, strong, light, portable. I have a $1300 carbon fiber gitzo that I bought a long time ago for my view camera--used to use it for dslrs until I got the benro. The gitzo sits in the corner, lonely and unused....


Which Benro do you have?


I have the Travel Angel A269 model. It easily supports my Dslr with battery grip and heavy lens (24-70 2.8). $280 in stock at B&H, unavailable at amazon, adorama. I bought it for 250 bucks in Feb '10. Dunno if the availability is because there are newer models now, or what.
05/03/2011 12:48:54 AM · #12
hmmmm.... getting ready for a trip to Italy in a couple of weeks... my old tripod broke and I need a new one... what to get... what to get... ugh
05/03/2011 03:26:45 AM · #13
I was going for a good tripod for my new camera and got this Cullmann magnesit from Germany. The price was under 100EUR, came with a ballhead... using it for a few months now, I'm noticing the ballhead barely supports the camera with the 24-70 lens under certain angles, so that might be an issue (well it's free :). I can either change the ballhead or I guess use a ring to balance it better. Still it's a very good tripod, very sturdy and the quality is top notch.
05/05/2011 01:42:39 AM · #14
Okay... I bought the Benro C2691T Travel Angel... we shall see how it works out.
05/07/2011 03:14:16 PM · #15
Okay... received it. Initial thought is that it is heavier then I expected... we shall see how it works out in Italy.
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