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Old Apr 27, 2009, 5:30 PM   #11
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mtngal wrote:
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I knew you were going to say that, Roy.¬* In fact, I almost didn't post this here because I knew many would think what I bought absolutely crazy.¬* I did think long and hard about it before I pulled the trigger.¬* I thought about how I hated the heads I had, how the RRS L-bracket would solve¬*some of the¬*problems.¬* I thought about how I never carried the Velbon I have, because of it's weight as well as the pan-tilt head it has, which I hate.¬* I thought of so many people who list a number of tripods they've gone through.¬* And the ones who say "such and such works really well, it's just heavy."¬* And I thought of the people who have tripods they've ended up modifying, something I'm lousy with.¬* I'm OK for cutting up a milk carton to fashion a way to carry the tripod on the Slingshot, but that's about it.¬* I decided that there was no point in buying something cheap that would get left home or that would get bent/jam/creep, pinch my fingers,¬*or not be stable enough to work well was a waste of money for me - I might as well not bother.¬* That's why I've actively avoided getting a tripod in the first place.

So bearing in mind that I've bought my last tripod - the cost makes some sense - buying one tripod for $600 that lasts¬*30 years makes more sense than buying¬*6 tripods for $150 - 200¬*each, spread out over those same¬*30 years.¬* Or buying the $200 one, finding out that it doesn't work the way¬*one wants it to, then buying a $350 one several months/a year later, then replacing that one 2 or 3 times.¬* It's all in how you look at things.
Hi Harriet,

There's something strangely familiar about your process. . .:G

I certainly don't think you're crazy -- and congrats on your purchase !!!!! I think your setup is gorgeous -- beyond the functionality. My turn to be impressed!!! I'm especially jealous of the RRS lever clamp and L bracket!

Your Gitzo legs look strangely similar to my Amvonas -- wonder how that happened. . .:-)

The consensus of pros agree on buying the best you can afford -- and though I went the very inexpensive knock off route on my legs -- and would do it again if the same deals were offered (but they're not anymore ) -- I'd not hesitate to spend a whole lot more to get the performance that higher-end tripods/heads offer. Not only are they more stable -- but they are a lot quicker to use and adjust (the real reason that the pros choose them) and there's an endless satisfaction to gear that just works like it's supposed to day in and day out. Add to that pro level repair and parts availability if needed, and it's hard to argue with your choices.

BTW, I was ROTFLOL about your hubby's salad comment. . . just too true!:-)

Scott
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Old Apr 27, 2009, 9:24 PM   #12
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Thanks, Scott - I wasn't sure whether anyone would see it the way I finally came to see it. If I had gotten over my dislike for tripods in general when the Amvonas were so cheap, I could have easily gone that way. But given the choices now, it seems like the knock-offs are all not that much less than Gitzo and I liked the idea of the extra strength/layers that the Gitzo has. I was also surprised at how much of a difference a half pound makes - I looked at a Series 2 Gitzo Basalt tripod next to the carbon fiber 2541 and was very surprised - the Basalt legs without a head was at my limit for weight carrying, while the 2541 was quite do-able. Add on a reasonable ball head and the Basalt (or aluminum) one would get left home.

The RRS plate and L-bracket are truly things of beauty - they are metal, finally machined and have thoughtful features that go well beyond the usual. They are VERY much worth every penny they cost. And I can't say enough about how wonderful the people are there - from my first call (if I turn up at your showroom, can I buy something for cash?) through walking out with my two pieces. I walked out after a "class" on the features and how it all works, along with an explanation of how to mount the plate on my ball head (which arrived the same day, but wasn't there before I left for San Lous Obispo). They are wonderful people and have great products.

I'm actually a bit disappointed I settled for the Gitzo head. The RRS head is more expensive, even without the rebate Gitzo has on right now, but it's not as tall (which I would have preferred). The Gitzo only has one cut-out for dropping the camera down (i.e., like if you would be shooting portrait). While I don't need to use it for portrait shooting, I do occasionally shoot flowers that are about at my feet, so need to be able to point the camera down (you have to use the pan control to move the head over to where you want the notch). The RRS has an additional cut-out. Also, the Gitzo doesn't have a tension control knob, which would be very nice, but wasn't a deal-breaker for me.

I have figured out an easy way of carrying the tripod on the Slingshot. My prototype is made from a plastic half gallon milk carton and really needs to be made out of something heavier duty. But it works and is simple. I'll use it until the light-weight plastic gives out and I figure out a better material.
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Old Apr 27, 2009, 9:34 PM   #13
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You go, girl! You've made a choice that works for you and you're at a level where you can really put that equipment to good use. I'd be thrilled with that setup. Only problem is, my pictures would still be mediocre, because the ugly truth is that neither the camera nor the tripod is the most important factor. And until I improve my technique, buying new gear will not make my photos any better. But the K20 is still calling to me.......
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Old Apr 27, 2009, 11:45 PM   #14
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Harriet, your buying cheap reflectors might proove to be very expensive - for me!

Kjell
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Old Apr 28, 2009, 10:49 AM   #15
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Question: what is the camera strap you use? Is that a UPStrap? How do you like it?

Thanks.

EDIT: I just noticed it is an OP Tech. How do you like it?
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Old Apr 28, 2009, 1:10 PM   #16
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The Optech strap is wonderful! The one I have is their reporter - as you can see in the last picture, there's clipsto addanother camera, so you can carry two bodies on the same strap (very useful if you use two bodies at the same time). There are other models that are good for one camera, some not so heavy-duty.With mine, youreally can carry two cameras pretty comfortably. The only thing I would do differently/don't like is that it didn't come with the rotating metal parts that many camera straps come with (they do make single camera straps with them). That means that it can get twisted up a bit. One of these days I'll take apart another strap to get the rotating part of the clip, but it hasn't been such an issue that I've bothered with it.
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Old Apr 29, 2009, 8:37 AM   #17
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Thanks, mtngal. It seems like one I might get soon.

I have a neoprene Quantaray I bought for $10 from a Ritz Camera store and it is a pain to use. As with your tripod it pays to get something better.

OPtech seems to have a way to just replace the strap and keep the quick connect part. That would be helpful when switching from a heavy setup (K20D + vertical grip + 50-135mm) to a really light one (K20D + limited).

Speaking of tripods: I have a Manfrotto carbon-fiber that I bought 2 years ago for about $350 ($500 with head) and it was a wise investment for me. When I get a chance I will probably replace the head with a stronger one. Maybe a RRR with L-bracket.
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Old Apr 29, 2009, 9:54 AM   #18
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Yes, there are quick release clips on the sides so you can get different straps. When we were on our trip to Yellowstone, my hubby took over the K100. We stopped off at a camera store in West Yellowstone (really nice shop!) and bought him a light-weight Optech strap, which attached to the clips they K100 already had on it from the reporter strap I use, so yes, it's very simple to switch staps and configurations.
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