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Old Apr 22, 2009, 6:33 PM   #21
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I'll let you know aboutthe RRS configuration, it looks like I'll be picking them up Friday instead of waiting.
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 7:32 PM   #22
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mtngal wrote:
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I'll let you know about the RRS configuration, it looks like I'll be picking them up Friday instead of waiting.

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Old Apr 24, 2009, 11:40 PM   #23
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I had a very interesting day today. I finally got to see the Gitzo 1541 tripod (they had it on display at the Really Right Stuff showroom), and I'm glad I didn't get it - its smaller than I had expected. Cute, but small. On the other hand, the 2541 that I bought is plenty big - if I extend the 4th section the camera is higher than my eye level, even with the center post at its lowest level. I can use it reasonably well with the bottom sections completely collapsed, though I do have to bend over a bit, which is probably how I'll use it often.

The Gitzo head will work fine, but the RRS head has a lower profile that I would have preferred. And it has a separate tension adjustment control. On the other hand, the Gitzo head is simpler and the motion is so smooth and dampened, the tension control would have been nice, but I won't miss it much.

I also looked at the macro rails - they are sweet! One thing I thought when I looked at the inexpensive ones at the camera store was that they looked flimsy, and I thought I'd probably bend them at some point. The RRS rails are anything but flimsy - they look very sturdy and as well made as their brackets and other items - beautifully machined.

The L-brackets are wonderful, I'm so glad I went that way. The QR Lever moving parts are so smooth, easy to use.

Some pictures:

Tripod legs - beefy but very light:



Ball head. This is their Series 2 head. It's the same head as the 1278, but lack's the other's QR plate. This one has a simple platform that's easily removed so you can install the RRS QR Lever plate.



The head is higher than I would have liked, but it's sturdy and had no trouble handling my K20 with a heavy macro lens mounted and then tilted at an odd angle. It has a separate control for panning, which I'll probably use more than I had thought before I played with it. Because the panning control is a lever while the ball release is round, it will be easy to keep them straight.

Here's the QR plate and the L bracket mounted on the K20. You can see the part that wraps around the side of the camera, and you can see the grooves they use for mounting onto the QR plate. The opening on the side is big enough to allow one to open the side door, so you can plug in a wired remote without removing the bracket.



The L-brackets are custom made for the camera model. They have a bit of a lip front and back, so the camera can't rotate (like they can with flat brackets that some other systems have (the inexpensive Giotto head I bought for a monopod drives me nuts doing that).



Here's a picture of the back - notice that there's two different center line indicators. That's because you can slide the bracket over, leaving a space between the bracket and the side of the camera. The lever sits close to the plate - it's nicely tucked in so it's less likely to catch on things.

That's because you can mount the camera like this:



And you can adjust the bracket so that there's a space between the tripod head and the camera's side - you can still use a wired remote with the camera sideways like this. I thought that was very clever.

There's other neat features with the lever system (open all the way and you can lift the camera straight off. Half-closed and the camera won't fall off, but you can slide the bracket on the plate. Closed and the bracket is locked in place). All these little things, and the beautiful machining/feel of the parts make me SO glad I decided to go with RRS. I can't wait to put it to more of a test than photographing pine trees, weeds and dandelions in my front yard.
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Old Apr 25, 2009, 9:22 AM   #24
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Very NICE setup! After seeing your photos I want really want the RRS plates and lever. Sweet! You L bracket looks GREAT! One day I'll upgrade to RRS :-) Enjoy your new tripod! :-)
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Old Apr 25, 2009, 9:41 AM   #25
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The other thing is that the people at RRS are very nice and helpful, both on the phone and in person. The girl who helped me took the time to explain how the plate system and brackets work, how to mount it on my tripod head, how to use the various features. I can't come up with enough superlatives for the company.

And good luck with your quest for a travel tripod. What I ended up buying isn't exactly a "travel" set-up, but since it's my only tripod it seems to be the best combination of stability and light weight I could come up with.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 9:05 AM   #26
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Hey guys,

My wife and I was at Adorama yesterday and saw some very small carbon fiber tripods by Vanguard. I saw two I like The first is the ALT 225 CT for $220. It folds down to 13 5/8"! It's a bit short though, max height is 41 3/4". Max load is 6.6 lbs. The second is the ALT 255 CT at $250. This one folds down to 15 1/2" and max height is 49 1/4". Max load is 8.8 lbs. I'd like to use my Markins M10 ballhead on this setup. The heaviest I'd put on this is about 5.5 lbs, 1D MK II and 28-70mm f/2.8. My boss, wife, gave me the so it's a go Only problem, I've never heard of Vanguard Anyone here have experience with them? Are they worth the money? Thanks guys!

Chris

Edit: Forgot to mention, I'd be using it for sunset/night shots.

Last edited by cmoy; Sep 2, 2009 at 12:15 PM.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 2:34 PM   #27
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Default travel tripod in the $250 range?

Been following string and I'm looking for something in the $250 range. I looked at the ALT 255 CT, but ideally I'd like something with a max height closer to 72 inches. Am I dreaming?

It seems most of those I find are well over $400 or cheap enough for me to question in terms of quality, i.e, $59.99.

Also, forgive the newbie question, but when the specs indicate that a tripod is a "leg set" does that mean I must buy a separate ball head? I will use this with a Canon Rebel XTi, largest/heaviest lens is a Sigma 18-200 (1.3 lbs). I shoot almost exclusively landscape and would like something simple and affordable. Any advice would be appreciated!--dg
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 6:36 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by dg27 View Post
Been following string and I'm looking for something in the $250 range. I looked at the ALT 255 CT, but ideally I'd like something with a max height closer to 72 inches. Am I dreaming?

It seems most of those I find are well over $400 or cheap enough for me to question in terms of quality, i.e, $59.99.

Also, forgive the newbie question, but when the specs indicate that a tripod is a "leg set" does that mean I must buy a separate ball head? I will use this with a Canon Rebel XTi, largest/heaviest lens is a Sigma 18-200 (1.3 lbs). I shoot almost exclusively landscape and would like something simple and affordable. Any advice would be appreciated!--dg


Max height of 6' (72"), why?

Are you referring to the height of the legs without the center column extended, or with the center column extended?

How tall are you?

Just for a point of reference, the Manfrotto 055xPRO without the center column extended and legs sent at the narrowest spread has a max height of 62". That height is just about the correct height for a person nearly 6' tall (me) when a full size camera (Sony A700) is mounted on decent head (Manfrotto 410). Obviously the center column can be extended to increase the height for overhead shooting if desired.


Yes, leg sets means there is no standard head. "pro" and serious amateur gear is generally sold this way. Primarily for two reasons: A) ability to swap heads between a single leg set for photographers that desire to use both ball and pan heads for different tasks B) Heads can wearout much more rapidly than legs, replaceable heads are critical for the active photographer.



There are those who love their ball heads for every type of shooting and will disagree with the following statement:

For landscape usage a pan head is primarily recommended as you can easily duplicate settings AND the ability to control action in a single direction for critical shots.


Personally I am shooting with a Geared Head:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ared_Head.html

Gear Heads are pan heads with micro gear drives for ease of repeating previous settings.


Here is a Manfrotto combination that might interest you:

The 055XProB leg set has an adjustable center column that will extend horizontally for macro or difficult application shots. (Think extending the camera over the edge of the cliff).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...gs_Black_.html

The leg set alone is $180

Dropping down in size to the plain 055 leg set (without horizontal feature to the center colum)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...gs_Black_.html

drops the price down to $164


A pretty solid pan head

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Tilt_Head.html

is $73

$253 is pretty close to your budget.



http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Tilt_Head.html

is a better pan head at $140. The weight capacity rating is DOUBLE of the less expensive head.



My Manfrotto gear head is holding a Sony A700 with the largest/heaviest lens being the Sony 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G SSM lens. Weights are 770g for the camera with battery and 800g for the lens (or about 3.5 total lbs). The head is rated for 11 lbs. Absolutely no problems handling my camera and lens combination.

PS: Whatever you do, don't buy a head without Quick Release (QR). A QR plate allows the camera to mount and dismount from the head without having to unscrew the camera from the head. Saves a lot of time and aggrivation.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 7:01 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by cmoy View Post
Hey guys,

My wife and I was at Adorama yesterday and saw some very small carbon fiber tripods by Vanguard. I saw two I like The first is the ALT 225 CT for $220. It folds down to 13 5/8"! It's a bit short though, max height is 41 3/4". Max load is 6.6 lbs. The second is the ALT 255 CT at $250. This one folds down to 15 1/2" and max height is 49 1/4". Max load is 8.8 lbs. I'd like to use my Markins M10 ballhead on this setup. The heaviest I'd put on this is about 5.5 lbs, 1D MK II and 28-70mm f/2.8. My boss, wife, gave me the so it's a go Only problem, I've never heard of Vanguard Anyone here have experience with them? Are they worth the money? Thanks guys!

Chris

Edit: Forgot to mention, I'd be using it for sunset/night shots.
Vanguard? Nope.

Easily found the company's website.
http://www.vanguardworld.com/index.php/en/home.html

They claim they have been in business 24 years.

Their gear looks like a lot of the other gear on the market (Induro, Benbo etc) which means it is most likely from the same factory trying to copy the Gitzo, Linhoff etc like everybody else.

Doesn't mean these are bad companies per se, just that innovation is not their strong suit and their goal is to offer a lower cost version of long established product lines through mass production methods and cutting a few corners here and there.

Personally I would stick with Manfrotto, Slik or Velbron for inexpensive gear, though I had a chance to play with a Giottos rig that seemed stable and well put together.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 9:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by StevieDgpt View Post
Max height of 6' (72"), why?

Are you referring to the height of the legs without the center column extended, or with the center column extended?

For landscape usage a pan head is primarily recommended as you can easily duplicate settings AND the ability to control action in a single direction for critical shots.
Yes--my mistake: I was not taking into account the center column (sorry). Since I will use this primarily for travel, I'm leaning toward those that are somewhat shorter when folded, like the 055XB you recommended (even shorter still would be better).

In terms of the heads you recommended, is the primary advantage of the 808RC4 over the 804RC2 the load capacity?

And btw, the last tripod I had was many years ago when I shot film and that was definitely a tilt pan head, which I prefer to the ball--thanks for the reminder.

dg

Last edited by dg27; Sep 2, 2009 at 9:35 PM. Reason: typo
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