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jjblanche Feb 17, 2010 6:07 AM

Reasonable Quality Budget Tripod?
Does such a thing exist, a decent quality budget tripod? I picked up a Sakar based upon Amazon reviews, thinking I was getting a deal (link below):

Sakar Digital Concepts TR-60N

Well, I will say I got what I paid for. It would probably suffice for the most basic of work, but even with the dual-levels it's nearly impossible to get level (pretty much have to wing it; don't think the levels are seated properly). The "fluid" panning is anything but (I think they have gravel instead of fluid in there). That, and when I was extending one of the legs, the leg itself popped out of the joint. It was an easy fix, just popped it back in, but I don't feel comfortable at all putting my new cam on this thing. Especially for video, it'll probably be more of a hindrance than a help. Will keep it around as a backup, or as a stand for lighting.

So I'm in the market for a decent tripod that won't collapse, break, or fall apart. It should have panning that doesn't grind and jump, and (above all) won't cost a million dollars. Weight of the tripod itself isn't an issue, and I'm fairly certain even the most basic model can sholder the camera I plan on mounting (Sony H20, under 2lbs). Would like to go as inexpensive as possible, but to put a cap on it let's say $60, maybe $75 on the outside. After the hundreds I've already spent on the cam and accessories, I'm really stretching myself by buying another tripod, so definitely want to keep the price as far down as possible.

Purpose would be shooting basic video (some panning, etc) and stationary still images. I should emphasize the stuff I'm doing is amateur at best. All I really need is a tripod that's put together reasonably well, and can pan without too much guff.

Here's a few candidates I've dug up in preliminary searches, but I'm open to all suggestions:

Slik U9000
Cullman Nanomax 220
Velbon CX690

Guess that about wraps it up. Thanks in advance for any help, and sorry if this topic has been addressed before (I poked around prior to posting, didn't see anything directly applicable).

shoturtle Feb 17, 2010 8:44 AM

The cullmann Nanomax is a pretty good low end tripod, it also can be a grounder, even though the head is plastic, it is of decent build quality. While the slik and vebon are not able to be a grounder style tripod. The cullmann has a bit more abilities then the other 2. The Slik would be my second choice. If you move up to the 90 dollar range, you will get a head that is all metal like the cullmann magnasit 519. This is what I use currently and it is very well made.

JimC Feb 17, 2010 9:04 AM

Note that the quick release plate on that Velbon you're looking at has a video pin, and it's probably not spring loaded. Look under accessories for it and you can see it's design. In that brand, I'd move up to one of their better tripods (a bit higher priced than that one), and lean towards a quick release plate without that pin (unless you can find one that's spring loaded so that it would stay depressed on a non video camera).

shoturtle Feb 18, 2010 6:39 PM

also the best thing for leveling on a tripod is a hot shoe level, you can get them on ebay for 3 dollars. Way better then a level mounted on a tripod.

jjblanche Feb 19, 2010 7:20 PM

Thanks for the help, guys. I'm probably going to roll with the Nanomax 250, as the 220 is just a bit too low for me when fully extended. The 250 also has macro capability, which the 220 does not, and it appears the head is a little nicer. It's really pushing to the upper end of my budget, but I'd rather get something nice that will last a while and suits my needs, as opposed to cheaping out now and regretting later.

Unfortunately, my camera doesn't have a hotshoe. Sony DSC-H20. I'm pretty good eyeballing it when necessary, and whatever comes on the tripod should at least ballpark me (hopefully).

shoturtle Feb 19, 2010 7:46 PM

The cullmann's are very good tripod. Very well engineer germany product. I have been happy with them since switch from a slik. What do you mean macro capability with a tripod?

jjblanche Feb 19, 2010 11:24 PM


Originally Posted by shoturtle (Post 1054334)
What do you mean macro capability with a tripod?

"The Cullmann Nanomax 250 features adjustable leg positions which enables the user to spread the legs for effective low-levels angle or macro photography. To help with this, the 250 comes complete with a split centre column, the bottom section of which can easily be unscrewed to allow the tripod head to within 30cm of the ground."

shoturtle Feb 19, 2010 11:29 PM

OK, it is the shorter tube. My magnasite has that too, it really comes in handy. Also if you need to pack the tripod down more. You can invert the head and put the head on the side of the legs for more compactness. With I really like for traveling.

shoturtle Feb 19, 2010 11:38 PM

a very good option for the shorter tube is to get a simple ball head mount with a level with a quick release plate. It make for a really compact tripod. I use my joby ball head form my gorillapod, and mount it on my short tube, when I want to be as light as possible with my tripod.

bulls3y3 Mar 27, 2010 2:09 PM

So Shoturtle from your recommendations, which tripod would you recommend for easy carry around on travels and trips to fit in a backpack or handy case with a ball head with good extension and quick release? Also I'll like it to have a level on it


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