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Old Feb 11, 2010, 1:48 PM   #71
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There's a saying about tripods: There's light tripods. There's steady tripods. There's cheap tripods. You only get 2 out of 3. If you can't compromise on the first two, save your money and buy an expensive one.

There's an article floating around that gives the typical scenario people go through when buying tripods that's entitled "How to Save $750 When Buying a Tripod". The basic scenario is that first you buy a cheap flimsy tripod for $150. After a couple of times using it, you discover it's worse than not having a tripod at all. So you buy a more expensive model for around $500 total. That one is sturdy and works well, but you get tired of dragging around a larger, heavy tripod, or its aluminum and you bend one of the legs while using it in rough terrain. So you end up spending $900 for a really good tripod and head. You could have saved yourself $750 by buying the $900 tripod first.

The other thing to think about when buying a tripod is what lenses you are going to be using on it. A longer lens will require a sturdier tripod/head as any motion is magnified with long lenses. So be aware that the weight capacity of a tripod and head is not the only thing you need to consider when looking at tripods. If you aren't going to use a lens longer than 200 mm, it won't matter as much, the weight will more likely be the deciding factor.

Another big decision is what type of head you want. It's a very personal thing - I far prefer a ball head, but there are those that prefer a pan/tilt head. If you choose a ball head, try not to scrimp too much on it - there's nothing worse than using a ball head that droops as soon as you let go of it, or is made up of too light-weight material so that it tears up when you try to tighten it enough so that it doesn't droop.
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 1:58 PM   #72
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To follow up on Harriet's post - I too prefer a ball head. BUT just like with legs - you have to pay more for a ball head with the same bearing capacity as a 3-way or pan-tilt. You'll notice the problem more when using longer lenses - you lock in the ball-head, let go and there is an immediate sag. "long" and "heavy" are relative terms - the cheaper the ball head the shorter and lighter the rig is that causes you a problem.

For what it's worth I wouldn't trust a carbon fiber / ball head combo that cost $150.
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 2:19 PM   #73
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hmm.. seems like buying a tripod is just as hard as picking out a camera lol. are there a few specific brands I should stick to? or are they all more or less the same?
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 2:33 PM   #74
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Gitzo, Giottos, Manfrotto, Benro and Velbon are all pretty good names. You could get a decent aluminum tripod and 3way head for around $200. .
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 2:49 PM   #75
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You said that you wanted to shoot landscapes. If you want to do panoramas, I'd suggest that a pan/tilt head would be better than a ball head for that.
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 3:14 PM   #76
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I partly agree with TCav, and partly don't. I ended up buying a ball head that has a separate knob for panning, which is important if you want to use it for panning. That takes away one of the advantages to a pan/tilt. If you really want to do panoramas right, you'd need a head that's specifically for that, it will allow you to get the proper rotation, while a regular pan/tilt or ball head won't. Of course, the lack of a panorama head hasn't stopped me from playing around with panos.

As far as brands, you won't go wrong with any of the ones mentioned, assuming you pick the correct model for your needs. I know people who have Slik tripods they like.

Another thing to consider is the leg locks - there are different types. Some people will like one over another. Personally, one time hiking with a tripod with flip locks that grabbed branches and weeds convinced me that I probably would be happier with twist locks. Those who use them for more indoor/studio work might choose differently.

Best thing to do is go to a camera store and look at a lot of them. Play with them for a while, the locks, the weight, the feel etc. Then go to a couple of the manufacturer websites for additional information about their products and the differences between them.

Last edited by mtngal; Feb 11, 2010 at 4:58 PM.
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 7:58 AM   #77
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Hoping you guys can help me out again. I want an upgrade from the kit lens.... i can get a used Zeiss 16-80mm for 500 or a Snew Sigma 17-70 macro for 450...

What would you guys recommend?
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 8:41 AM   #78
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I'd definitely go with the Carl Zeiss if it's a reputable seller and the lens is in excellent condition. That would give you a wider angle of view on it's wider end, a longer focal length when zoomed in, as well as higher quality optics.
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 8:58 AM   #79
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what are things that i need to look for when buying a used lens? i would probably check for scratches on the lens. dents or chips, if it comes with all original accesories, if the blades in the lens are working and if it fits the camera properly. what else should i look out for?
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Old Feb 15, 2010, 9:12 AM   #80
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You should look at the aperture blades to see if they are clean and dry. If they are shiny, the lens has been exposed to heat and the lubricant has softened and smeared from the pivots onto the blades, and they will open and close slowly causing your exposures to be off.

You should also look to any marks on the lens elements, including the interior lens elements. If the lens has been stored in the dark for a long time, fungus can grow and damage the lens coatings.

Also, check for the smooth operation of the focus and zoom rings.

Good luck with that. Both lenses are very good, but the Zeiss is better.
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