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Old Oct 21, 2004, 3:11 PM   #11
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I'll bet that the problems that others had was more from operator error than machine error. Take the Walmart tripod out of the box and try setting it up. I've used two different ones and my dad uses one I bought for him. If the tightening screws are tightened properly, any tripod will slip. Put one of their cameras on the tripod or bring your own and try it. BTW, the tripod is made by Vivatar.
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Old Oct 21, 2004, 6:15 PM   #12
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The pod I was talking about was a Velbon550, I think cost me about 50$.

The leg extension on it is "tightened" byplastic pressure snap/levers. There are no possible adjustments to these snaps and I can extend/collapse the legs on it with it in the snaps in the locked position. Its leg spread is also individually adjustable by the same type of dysfunctionallatches.

No matter how much you tighten the head, it can still be moved with a bit of pressure applied. This wobbly-pod's head does have a quick release plate. with an overly easy to operate latchand no safety catch. I see a lot of tripods using similar systems and if they don't provide for a method of adjusting the pressure they will all loosen with use and fail.

If you can find an inexpensive pod that works, get it and use it!

But remember that using a wobbly-pod that can't cancel vibration will probably produce images that are worse than what can be done hand held.
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Old Oct 21, 2004, 6:53 PM   #13
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Kalypso wrote:
I agree with Mike. Don't go "cheap" on a tripod or you will be buying two (after you find out that the cheap one won't cut it).
Let me see if I can make my previous statement more clear. If you care about the images you take, get the best quality tripod you can afford. I have yet to see a cheap one that is sturdy, solid, steady & safe (as far as, holding a camera of any size/weight). I spent less than $150 on mine but I also got a good set of Bogen legs that I have set up on stairs, rock walls & in streams without problems.
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Old Oct 21, 2004, 7:58 PM   #14
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Let me add a question, if I may. I'm also looking at getting a new tripod in the next few months. I have pretty much settled on the manfrotto 3021 pro as it seems a good balance between cost and construction. My question involves the head - I've read a lot of threads that say a ball head is the only way to go. But i've read others that say the cheaper ball heads (under $150) can slip too much and if you can't afford to spend top dollar on a ball head then the pan is the way to go. Manfrotto has a couple I'm looking at - I think the pan is the 3030? and the 486 RC2 ball head. They are both around $58 - am I better off going with the 3030. Or is there another option for <$100 that is better?
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Old Oct 21, 2004, 9:12 PM   #15
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I think that there are good value ball heads available for under $300.

I chose the Bogen Manfrotto 488 RC2 [$90] over the 486 because it has an independent [locking] pan base has a more robust clutch for controlling a camera/lens that presents high torque. The 488 ball head is more capable of controlling most any SLR/DSLR with 'long glass' at all aspect angles without slippage.

The head is nicely machined and finished (typical Manfrotto). The ball motion has a nice smooth and firm action (not quite as silky smooth as the Arca). The ball control knob has a faily wide control range from light drag to positive lock, but lacks a separate tension control. The pan action is a bit stiff--not sticky, just stiff--but maybe it is because the head is new and needs to have a workout for a while. The pan base has separate lock control.

While I really admire the jewel-like precision of the Arca-swiss head, for me the 4X cost premium was not worth value returned.
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Old Oct 22, 2004, 8:05 AM   #16
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OK-- I had to spend less than $100.00, and I had to get something I would actually take with me (light!). These are certainly not very sturdy, but they meet all the other goals. Used with an infrared remote they do the trick:

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Old Oct 24, 2004, 8:03 PM   #17
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I use one of the cheapest Gitzo ball heads (1077M, $66 USD). It's very light, small, and functions and holds surprisingly well. I chose it to keep the size & weight down as much as possible. It's a bit too small to hold a 70-200 f/4.0 L lens on the camera mount vertically on the camera body socket, but it works. I put a quick release on it for convenience. It holds smaller lenses on my 20D very well. An integrated quick-release would probably have been better, esp. on vertical orientation, but a Manfrotto one didn't seem as good & light.

The next step up is $100, and would probably hold the 70-200 f/4.0 more easily.

There are several steps further up. One includes a quick-release mount (and spirit level, but those are also available cheaply as shoe mount, which is probably more convenient).

It's not an Arca Swiss or a Really Right Stuff, or Arcatech, but... I get a system that's small and light enough to fit in my backpack and actuallygoes out with me on foot. That said, I'll probably end up getting one of the above. I know the names...

I've also used the little Gitzo to support a Contax 645 together with its nice Zeiss glass. I kept the neckstrap on, and took the camera off for safety when I wasn't shooting. It worked fine.
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Old Oct 26, 2004, 1:29 PM   #18
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this response is for JohnG.......... i have basically the same set-up that you are considering: the bogen/manfrotto 3221 legs (which is pretty much the black version of the 3021) with the 3030 head. this makes a nice combination; a little heavy for hiking, but very sturdy. it even supports my 4x5. i don't know much about ball heads, but the 3030 works well. the three handles allow for an excellent range of adjustments and they lock down separately so you can make small adjustments in any direction without disturbing the other settings. i imagine the head might be heavier than some ball heads, but i'm not sure, so don't quote me on that.

i picked up my 3030 on ebay for about $35; it's in good condition and works fine.
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Old Oct 26, 2004, 2:46 PM   #19
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Over here in the UK Manfrotto (Bogen in the States) have a terrific range of tripods and all the accessories-get one of their catalogues if you can. Their tripods are built for the job and with care will last your life time and probably your grandchildrens' as well. Also they are an innovative company with all the latest technology in tripods.

To sum up not they are not neccessarily cheap but very good.:|
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Old Oct 27, 2004, 8:41 AM   #20
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Make sure you get a tripod that allows your camera to swivel both left and right. My tripod only goes one way.

I used my father's tripod and it had a ball socket that allowed you to swivel left, right, up, down, you name it. Much better in my opinion.

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