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Old Sep 11, 2006, 12:20 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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I need help. I'm looking for a tripod. I'm a very casual, amateur digital photographer. Right now I have a light point and shoot Sony (DSC-P200). The primary factor for my tripod is that it be very compact and lightweight. I'm concerned that if I can't easily fit it into luggage on trips and carry it around, I just won't end up using it as much. That means that folded length, folded diameter, and weight are important, even if it's not quite as stable as even slightly bigger options like the Manfrotto 7XX series or the Slik Sprint. Of course, I'd still like it to be reasonably stable in average conditions, and able to handle a somewhat bigger camera if I ever move up from the simple point and shoot. I'm not looking to spend a lot of money -- as I said, I'm just a casual photographer, but I could probably convince myself to spend up to $150 if I really felt I was getting something worth it.

The top choices on my list are:
- Velbon Ultra-Maxi-F (60" max height): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
- Velbon Ultra-Luxi-F (63" max height): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
- Sunpak DigiPro Compact-B (52" max height): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

I've seen the SunPak in person, but haven't yet found the Velbons locally in St. Louis. I thought that the DigiPro was surprisingly stable, and if the pictures of the Velbon are any indication, it's a nearly identical design. Here are my questions:

- The Velbons give 8-11 extra inches of height. I'm about 6 feet tall. In practice, will I regret only having the 52" the SunPak has?
- Is construction on the Velbon Ultra Maxi/Luxi significantly better than the SunPak?
- I hear the Luxi has a little bit thicker legs than the Maxi.
- How much of a pain will the second handle be on the Luxi when trying to set up and break down?
- The Maxi doesn't have bubble levels. The Luxi and the SunPak do. Should I care?
- The Velbon's have a removable head, but I'm not sure if the SunPak's head can be removed...although B&H does reference a thread size on the SunPak, so maybe it can be. If not, should I care?
- I'm generally ignoring ball heads. I'm not as familiar with them, and the taller versions of the Velbons only come with pan/tilt -- the ball head versions are all shorter by quite a bit. There is a ball head version of the SunPak that's about the same height and the same price. But most ball head's I'm seeing have no levels or quick release. Should I be considering a ball head?

If they were priced equally, I'd probably be leaning strongly to one or the other of the Velbons. However, the SunPak is around $60, the Velbons are twice that. I'm not sure that the extra height, and (possibly??) better construction are worth that much extra to me. But of course, I do want whatever I go with to be usable and well enough made. Is the SunPak going to be good enough for my use, or should I spring for one of the Velbons, and which one?

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 6:30 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2

Brian - Check out the Cullmann Magic series of tripods - extremely compact yet sturdy. I think you'll find them availablefrom several internet photography suppliers.TheMagic 2 tripod is probably the best option for you.

In case you're wondering, I do not work for the Cullmann company, or have any financial interest in selling their tripods! Just a happy user with 20+ years of experience with my two Cullmann tripods. West German quality, great design, and good ball heads. Here is a site that has some info and photos of the tripods:


And here is one internet retailer's site:


And another:


Hope you find something suitable!
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