Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Tripods and Heads

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 22, 2010, 1:08 AM   #31
Senior Member
 
Wizzard0003's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Aberdeen, WA USA
Posts: 1,085
Default

Not speeking from experience here but I've been doing Tripod research as well... I'm feeling
the Benro Travel Angel is probably at the top of my list at this time... They make them in both
Carbon Fiber (CF model) and Aluminum (AL model)... I really like the "Transfuctional" ones
because it converts to a Monopod as well... BTW, though I'm planning to go CF the AL is quite
a bit cheaper for the same exact design, only it's aluminum...

Here's a link to the Benro site if you'd like to compare spec's...

http://www.benrousa.com/products_TripodKits.html

I think I'm going for the Travel Angel model C2691TB1 because of the included B1 ballhead... The
B1 is rugged (handles over 26 lbs), has Panning control and is compatable with Arca-Swiss plates...


http://www.benrousa.com/products_det...91TB1#features

Just my 2 cents, for whatever it's worth...

PS:

There's a video...

http://www.benrousa.com/products_catalog_CarbonTravelAngelTripodKits.html# video

Last edited by Wizzard0003; Nov 22, 2010 at 1:37 AM.
Wizzard0003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 22, 2010, 2:48 AM   #32
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Posts: 1,381
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigMe View Post
I've been doing a lot of research and reading of opinions on tripods from all kinds of sources from professional photographers to amateur forums. One common thread that I have seen over and over from people who speak from experience is that if you go into researching tripods with no knowledge starting out and you DON'T blow your intial budget you are probably going to regret it later. Most of these people speak about the process of buying budget tripods and then later spending the money to upgrade. They would have saved a lot of money if they would have bought quality gear to begin with.

I'm realizing now that my best option is probably just going to be to save up more money to get something that I will be happy with long term. For me that's gonna mean waiting longer than I wanted to but it will pay off in the end. In the meantime I'll be watching craigslist for good deals.
I have written this before, and I will write it again. I had a cheap plastic tripod that I learned on. Cost me 11 cents and $7 shipping on ebay - and that was some of the best money I have spent. I learned quite a bit with it. I used it well over a year. That resulted in me being able to select exactly the legs I wanted, and am very pleased and happy with them. They perform exactly as expected.

The head. They came with a ball head - pretty cheap, as expected - however after the first use, it became very apparent to me that having a rotating base would not provide a level panning base. The point of the panning rotation must be above the ballhead, or the tripod must be perfectly level (something I can NOT do in a repeatable fashion all the time - in all situations).

Go out looking at ball heads - 90%+ of them have the panning capability at their base - they do not work (unless the tripod is perfectly level). There are only a handful of manufacturers that have ballheads that can pan horizontally - Acratech, RRS, and a couple of others. They are all at $400 and go up from there. More brands have a leveling base that can correct 5 to 10 degrees that you can set the ballhead on top of, which just is added weight and pushed the stack higher.

Now I thought that I could spend about $100 on a quality ballhead, but had suspected that leveling would be a bit more complicated - by going through the motions, it becomes apparent to you quickly what goes wrong. My first cheap $7.11 tripod had a pan tilt head and that does not really exhibit the problem in the same way as a ballhead. So after using the ballhead that came with the tripod once (a throwaway), I went out looking specifically for a workable solution. I found a few, and selected the GP from Acratech. I liked the design, weight, its flawless operation, plus the build construction is absolutely elegant. The workmanship, craftsmanship along with the machining is wonderful. I get a level platform first, last and all the time - easy, simple and painlessly. I did spend more than what I originally budgeted, however it solved a problem that was important to me. Also, every time I go to the tripod, I hate dragging it out, but its a real joy to use, rather than having to spend 5 minutes fighting it every way to get the ^%#*@# thing level.

I might sound like a broken record here, but I really do not see it anywhere else. Maybe its because I do panoramas and only a few other do them too, but there are specific facilities that are needed to pan horizontally and you have to do one of them 1) perfectly level the tripod, or 2) create a level plane on which to rotate the camera (with the ballhead).

Quote:
I'm realizing now that my best option is probably just going to be to save up more money to get something that I will be happy with long term. For me that's gonna mean waiting longer than I wanted to but it will pay off in the end. In the meantime I'll be watching craigslist for good deals.
So, reading and studying is great, however - I found that by investing in essentially a cheap disposable unit, you are able to "learn by doing" (there is a famous university with that motto....) and in my case it worked very well.

I might also say, that after seeing what my problem was, and knowing the solution - looking at all the alternatives, it boiled down to just a few products. I really do not like spending, however in this case, I could just tell that I was either going to spend the funds and get the right solution. Or go some other route and regret it every time I used the tripod - and I would wind up not using it.

hope that helps....
interested_observer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 22, 2010, 4:23 AM   #33
Senior Member
 
Wizzard0003's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Aberdeen, WA USA
Posts: 1,085
Default

I'd agree with interested_observer about getting a dirt cheap one first
just to see what it is you care the most about... Not only does it help
with the learning experience but it gives you something to use (in a pinch)
in the interum until you know exactly what you want and can save enough
to get it...

I bought a cheap tripod/monopod set from Newegg for $40 USD... I knew
it would be krap but it gave me the chance to decide what I may actually
want to put my money towards later without wasting a lot of money now...

interested_observer is also right about panning with a ball head... With the
combo I mentioned above I'd also planned to later add a tilt/pan head to
the kit... The ball head would do just fine for the interum and would be just
dandy when using the monopod feature of that tripod...

Again, just my 2 cents and things to think about...
Wizzard0003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 23, 2010, 4:02 PM   #34
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

Tripods are really personal items - what one person loves, another hates.

I don't disagree with the idea of buying a cheap, throw-away tripod with the idea of using it to learn what you really want, but there's one disadvantage, in addition to the money, with doing it this way.

I had had a relatively inexpensive video tripod that I had gotten for a very old video camera (that I hardly ever used). It was OK for video use, I guess. But I really hated that tripod for use with a dSLR, for a couple of reasons. First, it was aluminum and heavy for hiking. Second, the flip leg locks kept getting tangled up with the plants (taking pictures of wildflowers on a hillside). Third, the quick release plate was designed for a video camera and was flat - there was no way to tighten it enough to hold the camera steady on it. The pan/tilt head (which many people love dearly) was so fiddly for me - I'd get one adjustment fixed the way I wanted and would discover that I had to re-adjust the previous adjustment a bit, and there were some limitations how you could tilt the camera, it was difficult to shoot flowers with.

I also had a table top tripod that I got for use with an ultrazoom. I didn't really use it until I got a dSLR and discovered that it didn't work well either (too light for my camera/macro lens combination, though it will work sort-of if I'm very, very careful how I place it). I found out about ball heads that droop because they can't lock down tight enough to hold the camera in place (again, my combination was heavier than it's rating).

I hated both of them so much, I said I would never bother with a tripod and pretty much fought the idea of one for long after I realized that I needed (and wanted) one. That's the big disadvantage - it can give you the wrong idea about how easy/difficult it is to use one.

I finally (rather reluctantly) bought a good one that didn't have flip locks, that had a reasonably good ball head (not the one I wanted, but good enough especially since I rarely take panos so don't need the exact level/pan capability), one that was sturdy enough to handle my camera and longest/heaviest lens along with being light enough for me to go hiking with. It makes a HUGE difference - it's a joy to work with.

I'd highly recommend trying to find a camera store(s) with a bunch of tripods and actually handle them. Carry them around for a while - does that extra half pound seem like no big deal or does it get really, really old after 10 minutes? Work all the legs (hint - a catalog won't tell you that one manufacturer's flip locks consistently pinched my finger and was hard for me to operate, or another model's twist lock legs can come completely off the tripod - imagine seeing one section sliding down a cliff while you hang on to the rest of it). Put your camera on and take some shots - how difficult is it to line up with strange shot/angles (if you might take those types of shots, not everyone uses their tripods this way). How steady is it? Will it get blown over in the wind (if you will be using it outside)? Does it have a hook on the bottom to hang a bag on to add some additional stability in the wind? How wide do the legs go, can you adjust them for hillsides/uneven ground if you'll be using it that way (you can tell I'm outdoors/hiker oriented, and that puts a lot of additional requirements on a tripod).

If you go the really cheap route, bear in mind that you are investing your money into education, rather than gear. Also bear in mind that as much as you might hate using the wrong type of tripod, a good one can be a joy to use.

When you start looking, think not only about the weight of your camera/lens but also the focal length of your lens. It won't matter if you don't have anything under 300 mm, but once you go beyond that, the field of view is very small, so you'll want a sturdier head to keep the camera steady and on-target.

Anyway, some thoughts about choosing a tripod.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 23, 2010, 9:53 PM   #35
Senior Member
 
frank-in-toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 1,083
Default

Don't worry. You can use that cheap junky tripod later as a light stand. or for small p&s. or give i to a new photographer. nothing is wasted. it's better to get something now and enjoy/learn than wait for the best which won't be the best anyway.
frank-in-toronto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 23, 2010, 10:41 PM   #36
Senior Member
 
Wizzard0003's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Aberdeen, WA USA
Posts: 1,085
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-in-toronto View Post
Don't worry. You can use that cheap junky tripod later as a light stand. or for small p&s. or give i to a new photographer. nothing is wasted. it's better to get something now and enjoy/learn than wait for the best which won't be the best anyway.
Absolutely...!

Nothing gets wasted it just takes on new tasks...

That cheapo Dolica combo gets me by in a pinch and saves me money that
I can put towards better equipment later...

Also, you may find that you rarely, if ever, really need the tripod and in that
case you haven't spent hundreds for something you really don't ever need/use
that often...

Better to find out BEFORE dumping up to $500 or more...
Wizzard0003 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:44 PM.