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nhmom Aug 20, 2007 9:34 PM

Hi all,

After an almost unfortunate event this weekend with my current tripod I decided it's time to buy something a little more sturdy.

I currently have a Sunpak 6100 (I think that's the number, it's down in my car). I've been very leary of the center post being very wobbly for some time, but just kept an eye on it.This weekend I went out and it was very windy. I had totally forgotten about hanging a weight off the bottom and it blew over in the wind. Luckily I was standing right by it and caught it before hitting the ground.

Anyway, I'm ready to start looking for something else, but not quite sure where to start. A friend just purchased the Manfrotto 3001 or 3011, but I'm seeing B&H has it as discontinued. She was with me this weekend and had no problems with the wind with hers. I also read a review recently about it and the new one that replaced it not being as good as it. What are others opinion on trying to find the older modelsomewhere?

Also, for the head, I read about the grip action (??) as opposed to ball or three way pan with handles. It sounds like a good idea. I currently have the three way pan with handles and I spend more time trying to figure out which handle is going to adjust it which way and loosening and tightening the handles I get frustrated. But, I suspect the grip action ones are going to cost me dearly.

Does the head and legs need to be made by the same company? Or, can I intermex between the brands?

Any input on this appreciated before I start driving myself crazy looking at everything out there. I also noticed the posting about the Amnova?? recently. Is it really a good deal? I thought I read somewhere in my internet hunting this weekend that you get what you pay for.

Thanks for any input on this. Patty

robar Aug 20, 2007 9:55 PM

patty, = ebay= amvona= 858 or 828. great set of legs. yes you can intermix any head with it.. i know quite a few that use these and they are great for the $$. do your research of selling prices and set a limit for your self. it took me about 5 - 7auctions before i got a set at my price...

roy

Black Knight Aug 20, 2007 10:27 PM

HI Patty

I have what i Consider To be a great tripod. The Slik Pro700DX
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ro_Tripod.html

I dont really have a fancy head, just the stock unit that came with It. But For my purposes It Works great. The head can be Changed If You so desire. One of the big reasons i Got this model is that it has a Max height of 74". I am 6' 3". This way I dont have to Bend Way down and throw out my already bad back.

Phil

wadue Aug 20, 2007 10:30 PM

Hi Patty, I'm one of those that Roy is referring to. Last month, I bought the amvona at-858bl for $85 with shipping. Here's a link to one on auction on ebay right now

http://cgi.ebay.com/PROFESSIONAL-CAM...QQcmdZViewItem

I realize that there's only 14 hours left on this particular one but if you're interested (& have an ebay login) just search for tripod at858 & you'll get about 15 results. This is the model that I just got & I was just bragging about how this tripod is the best camera accessory that I've ever bought. The legs (as Roy put it) are "rock solid" & the ball head & grip is firm (was actually stiff until this afternoon). Honestly, it isn't light...weighs 7lbs...I'm a big guy (6'3" & 255) so that's not issue for me but what was a factor for me was the height of the tripod & this goes to 78" which I really like. As far as amvona (the seller) goes...excellent...I recommend them...fast shipping & I had an issue with the grip being to stiff, sent them an e-mail last nite & had a response 1st thing this AM & bought this last month...they didn't have to respond to my question but they did WITH common sense.

Furthermore, my cousin just bought a Manfrotto from our local camera shop for over $300 & couldn't believe that I only paid $85 for mine & his doesn't reach as high as mine. Ok...Ok...I'll get off of my soapbox but if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I'll be glad to vouche for this particular model & for amvona!

Ron

wadue Aug 20, 2007 10:32 PM

Hey Phil,

I just saw your post & went to click on the link & it wouldn't go through. I'm not sure if it's my pc but thought I'd let you know.

Ron

snostorm Aug 20, 2007 11:07 PM

Hi Patty,

I recently won an auction from Amnova for a big Carbon Fiber Dynatran A104 T tripod, and am very pleased. They place all of their tripod models up for no reserve auction in addition to having BIN auctions. I have quite a few tripods, but wanted a CF that was tall enough to use standing without having to extend the center post. This one's tall enough that I don't even extend the legs all the way to get the camera up to eye level -- but I'm only @ 5'6".

As Roy stated, if you go for the no reserve auctions, figure on losing a few before you get one for your price -- you have to keep trying, and not get caught up in the buying frenzy thing. The cool thing is that there are always at least 3 or 4 of each model up for no reserve auction at any given time.

The BIN price on the A104T that I got was $447. I got mine for $120, and could have paid less if I were more patient! The bottom line is that to get a comparable CF pod, I'd have to pay over $300 easily. I lost 6 auctions for this model before I finally got one. One of these was won for over $200, a subsequent one was won for $65 -- I guess I should have held out . . .:roll:

A good strategy would be to pick the tripod model that you feel is right for you, then do a search for that model in auctions that have already ended. You'll get a feel for what they have been going for. You can set your price limit, then find all the auctions for this model and watch them. There are always early bids for super low money, and then a bunch at the end of the auction, pushing the price up quickly. Stick to your max bid, and bid late to get the best deal -- bidding early only drives the price up, IMO.

The quality is very good. They are essentially Manfrotto knock offs from what I understand, and might not be quite as good as the comparable Manfrotto model, but there's not much of a difference, IMO. I don't know enough about the different models to know this for a fact, or be able to quote comparable models.

I think this is one situation where you can, if you play your cards right, get much much more than you pay for. . . I feel I did in this case.

Scott





robar Aug 20, 2007 11:24 PM

gawd, scott!! you're giving away for free how you are suppose to do this.. sheesh.. i got my 858s for $33 bucks delivered.. shipping was more than the price. they have lowered the shipping price now. i got my set about a 1 1/2 years ago and the prices delivered are now higher..

roy

bigdawg Aug 20, 2007 11:52 PM

The only thing with a grip action ball head is Panning. You have to maintain a grip while triggering the shutter. May not be a problem for you but I thought I'd add that in. For most of my shots the threeway pan head works great. I like a very positive set with most of my old lens as they are somwhat heavy. Also got a Bogen/Manfrotto tripod and threeway head on Ebay for 44 dollars including shipping. It goes to nearly 7 feet in height. Got the 3011 legs and the 3160 head. You can find some really good buys there. the ones Roy is telling you about must be good ones as some of my friends on the Kodak forum got them and seem very happy.

Dawg

Black Knight Aug 21, 2007 4:24 AM

wadue wrote:
Quote:

Hey Phil,

I just saw your post & went to click on the link & it wouldn't go through. I'm not sure if it's my pc but thought I'd let you know.

Ron
HI Ron

Weird the link works from my Desktop and my laptop. If anyone else has a problem . i will redo the link

Phil

wadue Aug 21, 2007 5:40 AM

Hey Phil,

I just checked it again & it works fine. I must have had too windows open at the time.

Sorry!

nhmom Aug 21, 2007 6:40 AM

Thanks for all the info. I just skimmed it this morning as I have to get off to work. Will read in more detail tonight.

I realized after I shut down the computer I probably should have posted my query on the tripod board, but since I know and trust the Pentax group thought oh, well. And, you are coming through! Thanks.

I do need to be concerned with the height issue as I'm 5'11" and have arthiritis in my back. One of the reasons I had selected the one I did a few years ago. So many of them just didn't go up high enough. I'm not sure how heavy the current one I have is. I'll have to weigh it and see. I don't notice it, though.

I am the queen of being patient on ebay. Waited six months to buy a PDA for the price I was willing to pay. Lost a lot of bids in the process. I'm also one of those ones that sets my limit, watches the bid and bid at the last possible second. If the bid doesn't end when I'm available to bid, I figure it wasn't for me. Maybe a stupid theory, but only once I've paid more than I wanted and that was due to a mess up with the shipping costs. So, Roy, no need to worry about giving away the secrets. It's my secret, too.:-)

Dawg, so the three way head is actually fine? Maybe it's my particular model that is so confusing. I've moved the camera in the wrong direction so many times.

Patty

robar Aug 21, 2007 7:18 AM

patty,
sounds like you're a pro ebayer.. patience is the word..
i think with your height(you're a big girl)the 828s would do. i think they top out at 68'' plus 3-4'' for a head and another 2'' for the cam = over 6 feet.
my 858s are 63'' plus 3'' plus 2'' = me at 5'9''
both of these weigh in at about 7 pounds.. why go to the tripod forum???? i've seen some horrible arguements about these there.. it ticks some people off when they spend $200++ when they could get a non- name brand as good for $50

roy

Rickst Aug 21, 2007 7:33 AM

I use both an Amnova and the Slik Pro700DX. I use the 700DX almost exclusively, now--just better construction, smoother sliding legs, etc.

For a head, I picked up a Bogen 3030 head for $40.00 locally--I really like it.

Monza76 Aug 21, 2007 7:48 AM

I also have an Amvona, the Dynatran 828 I think. I have the grip ball head that came with it but for about $40US I also have a tilt pan head, a regular ball head and 4 quick release plates. I use the grip head usually but the tilt pan head is very nice for portrait work and panning.

The only issue I have with theDynatran tripod is that they missed tightening one of the screws retaining the legs so if you get one, check that all of the screws are tight. The quality is very good, not to Manfrotto levels but much better than the price implies (80% of Manfrotto quality for 50% of the price).

Ira

bigdawg Aug 21, 2007 8:42 AM

nhmom wrote:
Quote:

Thanks for all the info. I just skimmed it this morning as I have to get off to work. Will read in more detail tonight.

I realized after I shut down the computer I probably should have posted my query on the tripod board, but since I know and trust the Pentax group thought oh, well. And, you are coming through! Thanks.

I do need to be concerned with the height issue as I'm 5'11" and have arthiritis in my back. One of the reasons I had selected the one I did a few years ago. So many of them just didn't go up high enough. I'm not sure how heavy the current one I have is. I'll have to weigh it and see. I don't notice it, though.

I am the queen of being patient on ebay. Waited six months to buy a PDA for the price I was willing to pay. Lost a lot of bids in the process. I'm also one of those ones that sets my limit, watches the bid and bid at the last possible second. If the bid doesn't end when I'm available to bid, I figure it wasn't for me. Maybe a stupid theory, but only once I've paid more than I wanted and that was due to a mess up with the shipping costs. So, Roy, no need to worry about giving away the secrets. It's my secret, too.:-)

Dawg, so the three way head is actually fine? Maybe it's my particular model that is so confusing. I've moved the camera in the wrong direction so many times.

Patty
The three-way head works good but you have to use it enough to get used to the adjustments. I mean if you use it enough where you reflexively move the right screw handle. The grip head is very nice for fast moving things like butterflies or sporting events but the Three-way for me anyway is better for Macros of flowers or portraits or landscapes or Panographs....There are so many heads out there that it becomes a matter of taste. For me..And here I emphasize for me the three-way head is best. For you the grip-ball head may be the one...If there is a camera shop near you, you might like to check out each of these heads to see. Be a shame to order one you in the end didn't like. Kinda like You like chocolate ice cream and I like vanilla. A matter of taste and a function of the type photo you enjoy shooting. My flavor may not suit you...Try all the flavors first then make a decision.

Dawg

Dal1970 Aug 21, 2007 10:19 AM

Gotta say that I agree with Dawg on that one.



Looked at loads of heads when I got my new legs, and ended up just nicking the huge Manfrotto Ball head off my Bembo Trekker. Love the action of the ball, with a little bit of tension on it.

When I put it on, the ball was very stiff, as I hadn't used for about 10 years. Soon loosened up though.



I was looking at a 3-way for doing macro/studio work, but not sure if I can cope with such slow, fine adjustment.





Dal

Heathglen Aug 21, 2007 11:58 AM

After using my Tilt-All for almost 40 years (got it to support a Spotmatic.), this line piqued my interest. I checked the ebay site and they looked good - just a little sophisticated. (For me, sophisticated is often a pejorative term.)

Since using the Tilt-All is totally reflex action by now, I guess I'll stay with it. So, if you want a sturdy tripod that will raise the viewfinder to well over 6' (I used to be over 6'2"), is great for panning and will l-a-s-t, I can heartily recommend an original, made in New Jersey Tilt-All. (It'sa similar indesignto the new Asian fabricated one, but much sturdier.)

Larry in Dallas

nhmom Aug 21, 2007 8:12 PM

I've gotten so much feedback I'm going to try to respond in pieces here to some of it so I don't get confused.

Thanks, Phil. The max height is definitely a plus and the price is reasonable. I'll keep this one in my "possible" pile.

Patty

Black Knight wrote:
Quote:

HI Patty

I have what i Consider To be a great tripod. The Slik Pro700DX
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ro_Tripod.html

I dont really have a fancy head, just the stock unit that came with It. But For my purposes It Works great. The head can be Changed If You so desire. One of the big reasons i Got this model is that it has a Max height of 74". I am 6' 3". This way I dont have to Bend Way down and throw out my already bad back.

Phil

nhmom Aug 21, 2007 8:49 PM

Well, I wouldn't say pro ebayer. I've probably only purchased 10 items in all my time. But, I do have patience. Well, sometimes :-) Now that I'm looking, I really want to get one NOW!

I'm questioning the 7 lb weight on these. I believe my laptop is 7 lbs and I don't think I'd want to lug that around all day. The tripod I currently have is 2.8 lbs. (Sunpak 6601UT) But, then the center post isn't very sturdy. So, guess that doesn't matter does it!

What weight max should I belooking for? I currently have the K100D, 18-55 and 50-200 lenses, the cheaper of the two Pentax flashes. Would one that holds 10 lbs be sufficient?

Patty

robar wrote:
Quote:

patty,
sounds like you're a pro ebayer.. patience is the word..
i think with your height(you're a big girl)the 828s would do. i think they top out at 68'' plus 3-4'' for a head and another 2'' for the cam = over 6 feet.
my 858s are 63'' plus 3'' plus 2'' = me at 5'9''
both of these weigh in at about 7 pounds.. why go to the tripod forum???? i've seen some horrible arguements about these there.. it ticks some people off when they spend $200++ when they could get a non- name brand as good for $50

roy

nhmom Aug 21, 2007 8:57 PM

You made a good point. I should go to my local camera shop and try out some of them. I should have thought of that as it's one thing I usually tell people when they ask me which camera is best. My response is the one that feels right in your hands.

You're right. It might just be that the grip handle "looks good on paper" but in real life I may not like it. I really haven't used my tripod as much as I probably should. I'd probably like it more if I did. I just don't always feel safe using it. I didn't realize how flimsy mine was until I was with a friend and hers. Her MF3001 seemed very sturdy compared to mine.

I also read about being able to "flip" the camera downwards to shoot almost straight down. Is there anything I should know about that before I try to find one that does that? I know there have been times when I've wished my current tripod would allow me to shoot downwards more than it does.

Patty

bigdawg wrote:
Quote:

The three-way head works good but you have to use it enough to get used to the adjustments. I mean if you use it enough where you reflexively move the right screw handle. The grip head is very nice for fast moving things like butterflies or sporting events but the Three-way for me anyway is better for Macros of flowers or portraits or landscapes or Panographs....There are so many heads out there that it becomes a matter of taste. For me..And here I emphasize for me the three-way head is best. For you the grip-ball head may be the one...If there is a camera shop near you, you might like to check out each of these heads to see. Be a shame to order one you in the end didn't like. Kinda like You like chocolate ice cream and I like vanilla. A matter of taste and a function of the type photo you enjoy shooting. My flavor may not suit you...Try all the flavors first then make a decision.

Dawg

nhmom Sep 3, 2007 6:35 PM

Sorry, I hadbeen out of town and the last week or so nursing a sick pet that didn't make it. Just bringing this forward again to see if there is any additional info to my added questions. Mostly the being able to get the tripod to shooting downwards. Anything I should look for specifically in that. And, the max weight I should be looking to hold. I'm seeing the tripod legs have a weight and the head has a max weight.

I did go to two of my local shops the other day to "feel" the tripods. One went out of business two months ago and the other had no tripods in stock right then. Will try to go out again this week.

Thanks, Patty

wadue Sep 3, 2007 8:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi Patty, just wanted to offer my condolences for your loss & to wish you good luck in your shopping adventures. As far as a tripod's ability to shoot downward, I can tell you that the ball& head grips can go to a right angle with no problems as shown here. Just grip it & angle it.

Good Luck!!
Ron

lesmore49 Sep 3, 2007 9:12 PM

About 20 years agi I broke the head mechanism on my tripod. I had rented a Pentax 6 X 7 and those are big and heavy cameras. It was too much for my tripod.

I bought a Leitz Tiltall, which is built like a Mack Truck and is almost as heavy. It's extremely solid and well built.

No problems with medium formats and an array of 35 SLRs. Not sure they make them anymore.

But tough as nails.

snostorm Sep 3, 2007 10:57 PM

Hi Patty,

As Ron has pointed out with the grip ball head, all of my "standard" ballheads have enough clearance to allow straight down shooting like this, but you also have to consider the distance to the subject. For macros, on the ground, you also need to be close, so variable leg angle stops, and possibly a reversible center column are necessary to get you down there.

Also, you need to determine if you might need to offset the camera from the center of the tripod. Some of the Manfrotto 190s and 3021s have center posts that can be mounted horizontally, Cullman makes a horizontal arm (@$79) that will fit on any tripod, and the Giottos MTs, as well as all the models from Benbo and Uni-Loc have center posts that will lock at just about any angle (Gitzo makes one of these also, but they are one of those "price is no object" brands, so I'll just assume that you wouldn't be considering one of those). The Benbos and Uni-Locs have legs that will lock at any angle both relative to each other and to the ground.

The Benbo Trekker II is the least expensive of the "universal positioning" tripods at about $125. The Uni-Loc System 1700 was $300 last I looked, and the Giottos MT in Aluminum can be had for about $175. As well as being relatively expensive, these are not compact tripods, nor are they particularly light. I have a Benbo Trekker and a Uni-Loc System 1700 (got em used cheap on ebay) and I have to admit that I don't use the non-standard positioning as much as I thought I would -- but I have used them. . .

As far as weights go, figure 2 lbs max for the body, and 3 lbs for a pretty heavy lens (like a 70-200 f2.8], so it's pretty safe to say that if a head will support over 5 lbs, you're pretty safe (unless you are into fast ultra tele lenses, then I'd say that you want a head that will support anywhere between 8-15 lbs). For the legs, add 2 or 3 lbs to the camera/lens weight to account for a pretty heavy head, maybe add a lb or two for safety sake, and you've got a pretty good idea of how much the legs need to be able to support.

Knowing what I lnow now, I'd err on the side of too much tripod, unless the weight gets to the point where you'll end up leaving it home all the time.

Probably more information than you need, but that's just the way I do thngs. . .:shock:

Scott

Heathglen Sep 4, 2007 12:22 AM

I've had a TiltAll for over 35 years. It'll handle anything I put on it and stand there rock steady. It's only problem is that it hasn't given me even a remote excuse to replace it. I know that there must be more interesting tripods out there, but I can't come even remotely close to justifying looking when, other than its weight, I find the TiltAll just marvelous.

Larry in Dallas

Monza76 Sep 4, 2007 5:14 AM

OK, for less than $100 my Dynatran has:

- variable leg angle stops
- a grip style ball head that (so far) is quite stable
- two sets of feet, one with spikes that can be recessed
- a reversible centre post
- very positive leg locks
- a decent carrying case

It looks exactly like the picture Ron (Wadue) posted, you can see the locks for the leg angle adjustment in that picture. I have used a Manfrotto, it is better built, but not by much (think Mercedes vs. Honda). If you can afford it get Manfrotto or even Giotto, Scott (snostorm) lists a number of alternatives, but if you are on a tight budget check out Amvona first (especially their ebay store, place a bid and wait, auctions are not lotteries if you win an item by outbidding someone until you pay to much then, really, you lose). I lost the first one I bid on only to get a second one, with a camera backpack, for $10 less!!!!!

Ira



robar Sep 4, 2007 6:38 AM

i lost 7 or 8 before i got mine. look under 'completed' auctions to get a feel for a price.

roy

nhmom Sep 4, 2007 6:59 PM

Thank you all for the additional input. After I get my photos ready to submit to the fairs, I'll be out trying to find a shop I can look at some of these things at now that I know what to look for. Then, to shop around for the best price. I'm not one to pay more than I have to for something. Drive my husband crazy at times.


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