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Old May 22, 2007, 4:02 PM   #1
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I'm looking for a decent tripod for my D200. I have an 18-200mm lens that I use most of the time, and actually bought a Manfrotto mono-pod for that. I have had a lot of success using the mono-pod. I recently purchased a Tamron 200-500mm telephoto lens, and shooting without a tripod is just an exercise in frustration. I belong to a camera club and the "pros" all suggest a tripod with a ballhead. I started doing an internet search, and there are more tripods than Carter has little Liver pills. I would like to stay in the $200.00+ range. I have come to the conclusion that a $100.00 tripod will be substandard at best for my needs. Maybe as a follow up question, is $200.00 enough to spend on a decent tripod? This will be used 50/50 field use/studio use.
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Old May 22, 2007, 4:57 PM   #2
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I have a tripod similar to this one. I have a model that like cameras are no longer made.

http://tinyurl.com/ytaj8v

I won't suggest a ballhead since there are so many kinds to choose from and that get a bit more particular.

What I do use for a ballheadis the Giottos MH - 3000.

I always suggest if you can see it and try it then that is when you can make the best decision of what you would want or need. It may necessarily may not be the best of the best but what I surmise is you want something that is best value for dollar.

There are many others out there to choose from. This is just what I finally decided on for my use.
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Old May 22, 2007, 6:50 PM   #3
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I have spent much more than I should on buying tripods/monopds and the head(s). Like others (I guess), I started looking at some of the "nicer looking" units. What I mean by nicer looking is - those which caught my eye in the shop - those which looked they might fit the bill but infact were not up to par. Rather that taking some advice from my brother, I bought a few tripods because they looked good in a shop full ofall sorts of electronicsgoods and was obviously taken by the moment and only too willing to buy the first thing I saw... At the time, I thought I had made a few good purchases but after actually using them and examining them at home, I soon realized that unless you go after quality gear, all you will get is "what you pay for"... Just a few weeks ago I ended up buying a Manfrotto 055 Pro B which is by no means top of the scale, but is far better than a lot of the cheaper gear available. Over the course of a few months of buying/trying, I finally learned what to look for when out after the right tripod... In a single word, and in my opinion - "RIGIDITY"...

Next on the list was - Which head to suit the tripod??

Along with buying a brand like Manfrotto came an added benefit.. There aretruckloads of extras available for them. You can choose which head you like and most of the time it will screw straight on. I ended up buying a 486RC2 ball head. The one I really wanted was massive in size compared to the 486RC2, probably twice the physical size, but what beautiful feel you got from it,and what a precisecly made head it was. Smooooth as silk and absolutely beautiful in movement and the adjusters and clamps worked like magic. I can't remember exactly which model it is but everytime I go into that shop I dribble when I see it... If only I hadn't have bought all those other cheaper tripods along the way, I could have afforded that one which was almost twice the price of the 055 tripod itself,, but my camera budget was at its limit so I settled for second best, the 486RC2... It is a great combination in the field,, BUT,, a word of advice here...

Everybody seems to go crazy over Manfrotto ball heads... Everywhere I went, all I got was "You gotta have a Manfrotto ball head", "Manfrotto ball head is the only way to go", etc etc etc... Well, while I can't say I made any mistake buying a ball head, buteven one or two of the pan/tilt (P/T) tripodshad their use and made life much easier in their own element and were hand over fist better than the ball head... The only reason I didn't carry on using the cheaper tripods is they tend to move a lot and they also shake and wobble around because of their light construction, but the P/T mount is great for moving objects, espeically when using a heavy setup like a large lens, taking pictures of cars, planes etc, where you could so easily track them and snap the shot you so valuably wanted to get. With a ball head, this trick is virtually done "At Your Own Risk" and usually spoiled the shot with a blurry photo...

My opinion...

Ball head...

Great for quick easy movement but you have to get the camera clamped right on target - left/right, up/down. This can get painful in a hurry, especially when you realize your camera is tilted over just as you take the shot. Sometimes it's feels like a clown trying to juggle oranges while standing on a large ball on one leg...

Pan/Tilt...

Great to follow moving objects, provided you have a nice smooth action, which cheaper models quite often DON'T have as they are quite jerky. Some of them have handles which make the movement exceptionally easy and fluid-like, while others squeak and squeal like a rusty old door being opened for the first time in fifty years. Cheaper stuff too, has poorly constructed swivles and clamps and this is where you get movement. You notice this more, again with the larger heavier lenses etc... Poorly constructed head with lightly constructed legs results in movement and aruined photo. Been there, done that. Some P/T heads also have the capacity to tilt over to one side and these usually give even more movement and seldom line up properly horizontal. I tried quite a few of these and was gutted to see how many of them were not turly horizontal...

Conclusion...

First... If you are going to have to choose, make sure you know what type of photos you mostly like to shoot. Second... If you have to have either one or the other, spend as much asyou have to,to get as good-a-quality as possible. Make sure it's solidly constructed and is smooth in action. Third... If you can afford to -get both...!!!

I am going to buy a good P/T head very soon. I've been eyeing up one or two and in a few weeks I will make my choice -once Iput a few bucks aside...


Neither one type of head is truly better than the other - they just have their own different uses...
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Old May 26, 2007, 8:36 AM   #4
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Hi JPMc13,

Go to your nearest Ritz store and take your camera with you. Try out a few of the tripods they have on display just for that purpose. Make certain the one you choose is sturdy and easy to set up. Be sure it is tall enough and still can be used at a very short level. Don't just buy a flimsy piece of crap because it is cheap. (That would just be wasting money in the long run.)

Bogan "Manfrotto" maks a tripod # 3205 and a Ball Head # 3262 that go very well together. They are a very good comination together and I'm pretty sure that thay are around your budget.

Ronnie
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Old May 28, 2007, 10:54 AM   #5
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I bought the Manfrotto 3021BPRO/486RC2 combo from B&H for $234.95 shipped. The 3021BPRO allows you to re-position the center column parallel to the ground for macro shots. If you don't need this feature, the 3021B is the same animal w/o the macro feature, and for less $$.

FWIW, B&H always seems to be the cheapest on Bogne-Manfrotto.

I have the Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX DG HSM and it works well with this ball head.
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Old May 28, 2007, 3:15 PM   #6
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Thanks to all for your advice. I will most likely buy the Bogen tripod with two Manfrotto heads, one ball and one pan&tilt. I know that B&H has been on vacay, so I will call them this week and order the tripod, etc. I have made several purchases from B&H, Abe's of Maine and Ritz. Even Adorama. They all have the "best" price on certain items. But where their price might be great on one item, they may be high on another, so it pays to check them all out. I trust forums like this to name model numbers, since usually the best item at any of these places, is what they have the most of in stock. Thanks again, you have all been very helpful.
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 6:53 AM   #7
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So if I'm buying a tripod and head with the primary purpose of shooting panoramas, should I buy a ball head or a pan/tilt head?
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 6:57 AM   #8
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So if I'm buying a tripod and head with the primary purpose of shooting panoramas, should I buy a ball head or a pan/tilt head?
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 4:22 PM   #9
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At the time I postedmy last reply, I had a Manfrotto 486RC2 which, to be honest, was hopeless for panoramic shots (I tried and failed bigtime with it),, but since then I bought a Manfrotto 468MGRC2 which has a panning release sothe ballcan stay locked but the whole head can swing around 360 deg... Wow, it is a great all-rounder type head but cost the earth, with its fluid lock system, about3 times the price of the 486RC2...

Ouch...!!!!


I still wouldn't rule out a P & T head but if you have the dollars, look at the ball heads which can pan 360 deg. I didn't even know they could swing the 360 deg until one day I actually looked at the extra locking lug on one of them and enquired. Ever since then I was hooked on the idea of getting one. There are lots of them available and many of them do NOT cost what I had to pay and will be just as good...
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 7:54 AM   #10
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garykohs wrote:
Quote:
So if I'm buying a tripod and head with the primary purpose of shooting panoramas, should I buy a ball head or a pan/tilt head?
Gary, for that application, I think a pan/tilt might be better. If we get together this weekend, I can bring my tripod and both ball and pan heads.
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