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Mathilde uP Oct 10, 2003 9:01 PM

Tripods with side arm any good?
I'm looking for a sturdy tripod for indoor use with 1.5 kg camera equipment, price around $200-$300. It will be used to photograph small objects and macro shots. The trippod now in use is far too lightweight for my current equipment.

In a shop I saw tripods with the head mounted on a side arm wich can be tilted in any angle, this would be great for object shot from above. Ofcourse an extensive side arm is close to testing Newtons laws, 15 cm would be enough for me.

Also seen a few tripods with a head plate were camera can be moved forward and backwards (or sideways), this is also nice with macro.

Looking at Manfroto or Gitzo site I don't see any of these 2 features so maybe that is a sign I'm looking for toy features. Benbo has such (but I doubt their leg lever concept with 1.5kg). Another point is; someone told me that tripods with rounded legs are more stable than the non-rounded legs. Should that narrow my search?

Please give me your 0.05c thoughts on tripods, which allow macro shots from above.

eric s Oct 10, 2003 10:35 PM

Gitzo makes a tripod where the "center" column can be extended in all kinds of different directions. I believe I have the number somewhere....G2227.

note the link is to the Carbon Fiber version, so it costs a lot. I believe (but don't know) that they make an alunium (sp!) version that should be considerably cheaper.

For doing macro work, most people get a center colum which can be reversed. That lets you mount the camera between the legs of the tripod, facing down. I would look into that.


BillDrew Oct 11, 2003 12:47 AM

I have the aluminimum version of the Gitzo explorer and love it as a field tripod. It has spikes at the bottom of the feet that rival anything outside of serious farm equipment. Easy to level, and the spikes make it very stable. Not as stable on a hard, flat surface like a floor.

Mathilde uP Oct 11, 2003 6:26 AM

Thanks sofar for the answers. I now learned that Gitzo is a reliable brand (not the 'disney' version of Bogen/Manfrotto).
Hmm, reversing the center colum will not do. I work with temporary studio set-up on diner table (sometimes eat outdors ;-).

At reversed center colum, object would be at a height level with more dust, darkness (or clutter of cables to light the object), uncomfortable work position, cat work inspection (more hairs), and still no 1 or 2 o'clock angle possible.

Mathilde uP Oct 11, 2003 6:39 AM

Giving it a second look, the reversed colum might work, provided the legs base is not too big. (put the whole thing on table)

eric s Oct 11, 2003 9:28 AM

A 4 section tripod (as opposed to a 3 section) will be shorter. Both in the amount of spread between the legs (fit on a smaller table) and lower to the table (which could be good or bad....)

They are usually considered less stable than a 3 section, but that is probably when fully extended.

If you have a good local camera shop (not a Circuit City) they might know something about this setup and demonstrate it for you. Not to mention its always nice to find a local shop which actually cares about customers and knows their business. :D


sjms Oct 11, 2003 11:19 AM

the difference between the 2228 and the 2227 is 2" overall. not that much to deal with until you put it in you bag for travel. yes there is a miniscule difference in stiffness between the two but i chose the 2228 for travel purposes and compactness as well as stiffness. it wasn't much of a compromize.

the aluminum version is excellent too.

now manfrotto has a model not quite as articulate but $ for $ beats 98% of the market. it is th 3021pro and it will hold more weight the you require.

realize that when using any of these tripod in lateral mode a counterweight is strongly advised and is easily attached to any of the models.

Mathilde uP Oct 11, 2003 5:29 PM

And so I went out today shopping for a tripod -I'm on the same line with Eric, to bind with local shops and be able to touch a product before actually buying- and bought a Manfrotto pro b 055. Bloody expensive, but great quality compared to what I had.
Nice thing about this model is the center colum can also be placed horizontal and the legs can go all the way into 'splits'.

Thanks again for helping me with advice. Here is a small 'bouqet' in return (made with the new tripod);

sjms Oct 11, 2003 6:29 PM

what you got is a bogen/manfrotto 3021pro (USA model). an excellent choice. i know i own one. expensive is relative. my G2228 will buy 4 3021pro tripods. the penalty is weight and not quite as acrobatic.
enjoy it.

Mathilde uP Oct 11, 2003 7:35 PM

Well, according to me this tripod is as acrobatic as it can be for usage with serious lens (most tripods can take some weight on top, but the outward lens is another matter). I like it indeed a lot; easy leg height fastening, the strenght, the sturdy knobs of the head (029), the adjustable angle of legs and the side arm.
Only thing I indeed forsaw in the shop; this tripod will not be in my traveling/walking gear. But then sofar I hardly ever needed a tripod outdoors. (were I live everything is small)

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