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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

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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!!

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:


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!!!!!


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.


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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