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Old Jun 19, 2003, 9:59 AM   #1
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Default tripod features

Does anyone know of a good link/site which describes the features that tripods can have and what their uses are or if something is a better design than another? I'm trying to learn more before buying one... but I just don't feel I know enough.

I assumed some manufacturers would have some info, but I didn't see any when I looked.

Or maybe a regular here knows enough to give me a head start?

Eric
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Old Jun 19, 2003, 10:15 AM   #2
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i'm afraid that gitzo has only twist type leg locks on ther entire line of tripods these days.

Ref: http://www.gitzo.com/
Ref: http://www.manfrotto.com/
Ref: http://www.bogenphoto.com/ USA distributer of both of the above

their leg sets a fairly simple and durable (actually more so, but then you pay the piper for it) like manfrotto, their sister company. no one button setups or such.

you want the stiffest lighest and most manouverable one around that handles your camera/lens weight.

the head is a seperate item and is just as important a choice too.
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Old Jun 19, 2003, 2:03 PM   #3
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Those are the companies I'm looking at, along with Benbo.

My problem is that I donít feel I know enough (or have the experience) to make the decision. I wonder about things like:

How many segments? Fewer mean smaller collapsed size (obviously) but is the only downside lack of stiffness?

What design of leg locks are better, the ring ones or the clamp ones? I've heard ring because you can tighten them more as things wear down, but the clam ones can only tighten so far and then need replacing. What about speed of use? Seal-ability (i.e. don't let sand in?) Are there other designs all together?

Is it better to have the thicker segments on the top or bottom? Not many do thicker on the bottom, but a few do.

Carbon Fiber is lighter, and quite stiff (&expensive)... but how does it handle strong wind? Does its stiffness make up for its lack of weight when the wind blows against it? I'll be using the 100-400L at 400mm on this tripod most of the time.... so I want as steady as I can get it (but not ignoring price.) And maybe a 400mm or 500mm prime in the future.

How low can I reasonably expect a tripod to be setup? (Before it becomes a special feature of the tripod and therefor cost more.) If I'm trying to take a picture of a sandpiper I need really to get low. Do many have complete freedom in the angle (in either 2 or 3 dimensions) of the legs?

What about flexibility of the center post? How many tripod designs allow for the post to be extended at weird angles? I missed a good picture of a huge 6-inch long frog (I know, not that exciting) because I couldnít get where I wanted to go. If I could have setup a tripod and extended the camera over to one side more, I would have gotten a better shot.

Those are the types of things I'm wondering about. I know some of the features of a tripod, but I both don't know all of them and also which are good and which are more gimmicks that aren't worth paying for. I was hoping I could find something good to read as an overview of tripod features. I'm sure there are many features I've never considered, but which I don't know the benefits of either. Or different ways of doing things which if the store I visit doesnít carry the brand that has it Iíll never see it and never have the chance to consider it.

I agree about the head being something else to research. Since Iíll probably get some really long glass in the next year or so, I have to decide if I want to get something fairly simple and sturdy now knowing that Iíll probably have to replace it with an arca-swiss style ball head and QR plates in the future. If I could only find a decent cheap small arca-swiss ball, Iíd consider that. (Or just bite the bullet and assume Iíll get a smaller and a larger tripod and deal with different QR heads on eachÖ I donít like that, though. That sounds extremely inconvenient & annoying.)

As you can see, I kinda feel like I have too many questions to stick in one post.

Eric
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Old Jun 19, 2003, 4:16 PM   #4
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i can truthfully say if you are on a budget stick with Manfrotto. if you have the cash and want the best gitzo is the tops.
i own a 3021pro from bogen/manfrotto. it is an outstanding tripod with lateral capability. weight and size wise it is a fairly beefy tripod. little to no flex at all. its meant to shoulder a 300 f2.8. price $130US wgt is about 5.5lbs. three section tripods can be stiffer depending on how they are designed and manufactured.

if light is right and money is falling out of your pocket and you want compact the gitzo g2228 explorer carbon weighs in at around 4.5lbs and is only 21in long packed away w/o head. don't let the spindly legs fool you it will support 12+ lbs. it is a 4 section setup vs the g2227 at 3 sections and 25+ ins in length. we are talking $500 here. there is an aluminum 3 section version there too at about $300.

things you have to decide:
1- how much weight must it support?
2- how much weight you're willing to support(carry)?
3- how versatile do you want it and are you willing to pay for?
4- max height you want it to attain
5- leg spread?
6- the head- pan/tilt or ball

realize that 90% of tripods made today are straight up down models. thegitzo, manfrotto and the benbo you mentioned and 1 other british benbo type tripod are the only types that that allow cirque du soleil type manouvers.

go down to the tripod forum and read further on selection.
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Old Jun 19, 2003, 4:40 PM   #5
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sjms

Thanks for the info. I've read a little in the tripod/head section. I'll do it some more. I had posted something there about tripods vs. monopods but I only got a small bite from NHL. Could be me <sniffs under arms> but I wondered if it wasn't that the forum was so far down.... so I tried up here with another question.

Wow, the g2228 looks very nice, pity about that price. Looks to have most of what I was thinking about. The G2227 is 4" longer closed, 3" longer open, and $70 cheaper. Touch choices.

Both of them don't reach 5" tall, without the center column. I had heard that if you can avoid it, don't use it (make the system less stable.) Is that true? I'd have to use the center column with both of these.

And I have to say, I've seen cirque du soleil live once. A truly amazing performance. So after reading your comments I imagined a tripod doing some of the poses their performers do... and I laughed out loud. :lol: Almost sounds like the basis for a Gitzo commercial.

Eric
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Old Jun 19, 2003, 5:58 PM   #6
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My 3c...

Take the setup that you use the most, ie the 100-400/10D, mount it on the tripod, and give it shake! See how its spring/bounce... after all you want a tripod as sturdy as a rock! So both of the above recommended Bogen are the way to go, and I would go with the one that has the most option for the head... ie easy to remove/reinstall of the camera. Also look @ all the pan and tilt option ie you don't want one that'll take you 10 minutes to adjust, by then your birdy has flown away! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Now the hard choice for the weight or size of the entire tripod/head which usually transpose to $ as it get lighter... :P
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Old Jun 19, 2003, 11:11 PM   #7
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as you know going up without broadening the base is an invitation to photographic disaster. so you have to decide the optimum point of vertical tolerance you can accept taking all other factors in balance. here, i guess, i'm sort of lucky being 5'7". most tripods fit my form factor.
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 12:14 AM   #8
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I am also 5'7", so I guess when I get to the store to try some I should have a decent selection.

Thanks again for all the info.

I'll be posting a ball head question in the next few days, which should be right up your alley since you are an arca-swiss guy.

Eric
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 12:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
What design of leg locks are better, the ring ones or the clamp ones? I've heard ring because you can tighten them more as things wear down, but the clam ones can only tighten so far and then need replacing.
With a good designed product , donít worry about wear, my old model manfrotto #055 use a clamp system, with a 90 deg flip level (canít find a pic on line to show you) , and has an adjusting screw on each clamp , but I never had to ďadjustĒ it yet .
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 2:18 AM   #10
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Default Well OK

A lot depends on your camera?

Small Ball Heads are cheaper than the larger ones but they are only good for light weight cameras. ....when you start using ball heads it is hard to go back to the pan head models?

My all time favorite tho is a "no name" waist high super shaky thing that has legs that extend like an auto antenna (about $15 to $20 bucks). It folds down to about 12" and I leave it on my 717. BUT!, I then use a remote to control the shutter and zoom functions. There has been a few times that I jamed the folded tripod legs into my belt and used the shaky thing as a brace and had two hands to hold on with and still used the remote with my thumb. Looks funny but so does a lot of the world.

If your camera has a remote available you might consider spending the $$$ on one?
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