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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 29, 2011, 10:37 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Default Should I get a travel tripod?

Well, I think I have found a tripod that suits me (and my extremely low budget). I think I am going to get the Sunpak TravelSmart tripod. But I have a question for all the pros out there- do I need a travel tripod? I am only 14, but really like photography and have taken a few 'good' (or at least I think so) pictures. But some of the pictures of mine I really like are the ones taken at night with long exposures. I am going on a trip with the family to florida in a few weeks, so this is my last chance to get a tripod for the trip. What I am asking is it a good idea to even have a travel tripod? The one I am looking at folds to 14.6" and extends to 56", but I dont know how to carry it... I am going to have kind of a satchel rather than a backpack- and if I bring the tripod I can only fit it into the bag diagonally and even then the head will stick out a bit... For the pros out there- how many times do you usually use a tripod on trips? Is it worth bringing one out there? I do want to fiddle around with my photography while I am there- such as taking a few time lapses at the beach or of the sun rising perhaps- that sort of stuff. So is it worth taking a 2 pound hunk of metal around with me?
Thank you all in advance
-Thomas
photonerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 29, 2011, 5:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Australia, New South Wales central coast
Posts: 2,891
Default

G'day Thomas

Nice to meet you mate -

Okay ~ may I answer your Q in 2 ways
Tripods are both an essential part of a 'togs kit & a bloody nuisance to carry around by hand [or bicycle]. I live and travel Australia in a motorhome, and as large is a motorhome, it still does not have enough space or carrying capacity for all the stuff I would like to carry ... so compromises must be made

I've had a glance at the link you posted ~ the tripod "might" be okay but I cannot tell ... when it is fully open for use, Q-will it wobble in the wind? -will it be sturdy enough for a heavy camera? -is it meant for a slip-in-the-pocket auto camera? ... only you can tell via handling the tripod. My worry here is from experience ~ I have too many adult students in my workshops who have been sold a camera + twin kit lens package + a crappy lightweight tripod that vibrates in the wind and collapses under the strain when the person puts the long lens on the camera

As I cannot handle the tripod, my other comments here are general-

My 1st suggestion would be to buy a good quality "table-top / traveller's" tripod ... they cost from $25 to $150 for a top-of-the-range manfrotto
The beauty of a TT tripod is that when closed, it is about 2" dia x 10" long and will fit into any pocket.
It will open up with its 3 legs, no extensions, and with a ball & socket head on top, you can position it onto any car roof, brick wall, table top etc: you can place it onto a vertical brick wall and via the ball & socket head the camera remains horizontal while you stand there holding it tightly in place for the exposure time

My 2nd thought is - I also have a 'regular' tripod as well - and I have chosen a tripod where each leg has 4 sections & thus closes down to a smaller overall length. I know that every joint in a leg has the potential for wobble, and that's why most tripods have only 3 sections ~ but for me to get it smaller, I went for 4-sections. Maybe your selected tripod will need to have something like this

Hope this helps a bit ~ thanks for the Q
Regards, Phil
__________________
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

Last edited by Ozzie_Traveller; Sep 29, 2011 at 5:13 PM.
Ozzie_Traveller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 30, 2011, 10:42 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Default

Thanks for replying

Unfortunately, I cannot handle the tripod because I live in a somewhat rural area and there aren't any great camera shops nearby..
You see, I am kind of debating this over with myself
I want to bring a tripod, but I cant really bring myself to buy one that doesnt extend to a reasonable height. I'm afraid that i wouldnt really have any use for it at home. My dad has an older tripod, its 22inches folded and weighs about 3.5lbs (I guess around 1.7kg ). I have taken that tripod with me around town to help with a few video shoots, and its kind of a burden... Thats part of the reason why I was thinking about this one, because it is light and small..

I suppose i want to get it because I want it to be more of a multi-use tripod instead of a travel tripod. Get one that I can use at home a lot too, but that is small enough that i could take it on the road (or stuff it into a carry on)
What do you think? Do you think I should go with a smaller tripod, and if so, how high do you think it should be?

I do need to order in the next few days for it to get here in time however


Thanks so much!
-Thomas
photonerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 30, 2011, 12:50 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,093
Default

Hi, Photonerd, and welcome to Steve's. The best introductory article on tripods that I am familiar with is this: http://www.prime-junta.net/pont/Pont...ipods_101.html
If you read that, you should be in a good position to make an informed decision. Tripods bring out the BS in a lot of photographers -- if you paid less that a thousand dollars for it, you wasted your money; it must be made from (or should not be made from) carbon fiber or aluminum or ...; there is exactly one size that is the "correct" fit for you, and it can be determined by... etc. But the article I linked to is about as straight and useful as such info gets.

Now, the BS from me: First, I have two tripods, one that cost me something like $10 and another that cost me about $60. I got the first one about two decades ago and still use it. The difference between the two is that one is a pan head and the other is a ball head. Pan heads are commonly identified as the right thing for video -- you can rotate them horizontally to track motion without the head moving in the vertical direction, too. Sometimes, pan heads are damped with oil to make the panning smoother. Ball heads are the traditional ones for SLRs. They allow you to position in any direction when they are released, so geting your camera lined up for a shot is quick and easy. Really fancy ball heads may also support horizontal-only rotation in a special mode, so they can work like a pan head if you want them to, But the head alone will run you hundreds of dollars for those, so you needn't worry about them now.

I no longer shoot video, but I use my pan head for macro shooting. There is a special adapter called "macro rails" that is really convenient for macro shooting, and I find them to work best for me on a pan head mount instead of a ball head. You will develop your own style as you go along, which is just a fancy way of saying that you'll find that some things seem more natural to you than other things. Just do what works for you.

The other things to be aware of in buying a tripod include maximum extension (without raising the center post -- the article explans why that is a bad idea); total weight supported by the tripod (this is especially important if you have a kind-of-heavy lens that doesn't come with a tripod mounting collar. In that case, the torque from the lens will often cause your tripod to droop on a long exposure); and quick release plates are a really nice feature. These are little pads that you attach to your camera's tripod mount (I leave mine screwed in unless I'm switching to my other tripod). You then just put the pad into the tripod and it clips in place. Otherwise, it's a real pain to try to screw the camera onto the tripod.

One last thing -- it is a very good idea to get a cable release or remote release for your camera (assuming there is one) for when you use a tripod. This allows you to click the shutter without jiggling the camera -- there's no point in lugging a tripod around to take a sharp photo and then undermining the tripod when you click the shutter. If you don't have a cable release, you can do the same thing slightly less conveniently by using your timer to release the shutter a couple of seconds after you click the shutter. That should give the camera time to settle down. Also, if you have an SLR, you should use the mirror lock-up (MLU) for most of your tripod shots. Theoretically, you only need that for shutter speeds slower than about 1/30 s and faster than about 2 s, but it's a good idea to get in the habit of always using it so you don't forget.

Last edited by tclune; Sep 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM.
tclune is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 30, 2011, 1:22 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Default

I think I have rethought this- I might get a compact tripod just for the portability. I have an FZ100 and the screen is flip out so visibility shouldn't bee too hard. I am also making a DIY remote release for it. I actually looked at that tripod 101 before I posted this Weird how that works.
So anyone here know of a good TT tripod? I was thinking about this VV

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

But It looks rather flimsy- I would still like it to extend, but still be 10" folded.
photonerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 30, 2011, 6:22 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Default

Ok- been looking around. This tripod here was one of my first choices- but I disregarded it because it had no QR system, and it was a ball head.
I think It would be around 11 inches compact if I packed it with the head backwards, what do you guys think? Then I could use something like this, perhaps, If I really wanted a QR system.
Any thoughts? I really need to order by this coming sunday if at all possible.
photonerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 30, 2011, 6:25 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Australia, New South Wales central coast
Posts: 2,891
Default

G'day again Thomas

TC has given some good info above - thanx tc

As to the tripod you link to - nup, it's a load of junk, far too flimsy for anything
Your earlier link was to a sunpak tripod - your later link is to B&H, whose list of tripods also shows a "Sunpak 2001UT tripod for $15"
At a glance, this unit seems a possibility - its legs have only 3 sections, the legs are stabilised to the centre column ... maybe it could do for you while you work out your long term requirements

The head would be a plastic moulded type, likely to break after a couple of years, but by then you would be in a better position to upgrade

Hope this helps a bit
Regards, Phil
__________________
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
Ozzie_Traveller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 2, 2011, 2:19 PM   #8
Member
 
Talyllyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Wirral, UK
Posts: 64
Default

Hi,
I don't want to confuse the issue but have you considered a monopod. There are some quite robust ones available at a low price, they are relatively light weight and compact. Obviously you can't leave the camera on it and get in the photos yourself but if it is support you are after you effectively make up the other two legs of the tripod.

Cheers
__________________
Lumix TZ60
Talyllyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 2011, 10:12 AM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Default

Decided on Sunpak travelsmart. It got here a couple days ago and I like it Legs are a bit finicky (only one has a variable height setting, the rest click into place), and its pretty steady (the highest I would do for long exposure is probably 50" or so. The legs are extended and the center column half extended) It folds up nice too. Thanks for all your help and advice
photonerd 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 9:06 AM.