Looking for a Tripod...

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by willscarlett, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. I'm at the point where I could use a new tripod. The one I have was passed down to me from one of my dad's friends and while it is very sturdy, it's also incredibly heavy. I've been carrying it around with me as needed for the past 8 years, but I know there's a lot of good stuff out there now.
    In short, I'm looking for either an aluminum or carbon fiber tripod that has a nice max height, but is portable and lightweight. It needs to be strong enough to support my gear, which ranges from Nikon 35mm SLR bodies to a Pentax 67. One of my friends recommended looking at Benro, Manfrotto, and MeFOTO.
    What do people here like - any specific model suggestions? I'd say my budget is $400 max.
  2. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Assuming your budget doesn't need to include a head , I's suggest you include a Manfrotto 055CXPRO3- a medium sized carbon fibre 3 section tripod - in your short list.
    Whatever you buy, if you work with the camera on its side you'll need a very good head to prevent downward droop in the vertical mode, and you'll need to understand that weight and stability are linked. It might well be that modern design and materials notwithstanding, your older heavier tripod might well be more solid on springy grass etc.
  3. I really like the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 as well.
    Another option is the Feisol. http://www.feisol.net/rapid-tripods-classic-tripods-c-1_12.html
    At one time they were inexpensive. I have not had an issue with the 3301
  4. What might a tripod head be needed for? Are you referring to a ball head?
  5. John-Paul: Most tripods above the budget range are sold just as legs, with or without an extending central column. The head - which may be a ball head, or pan/tilt, or geared, or fluid, or gimbal... - is separate. (It may be sold bundled with the legs, but is attached to the legs via typically a 3/8" screw and can be detached or replaced). There is a lot to be said for picking the legs you like (some prefer different styles of clamp, for example) and separately picking the head you like - this also means you can use different heads for different styles of shooting, and different legs depending on your requirements - you might want to prioritise portability in any new legs you buy, since that's your current problem, and continue using your existing legs where you need absolute stability. There is always a trade-off: stability, portability, affordability, pick any two (or one and a half). The same is true for heads. Depending on what you shoot, you might want to look at something other than a ball head - but ball heads give a good compromise between price and flexibility. I particularly dislike Manfrotto's proprietary quick release systems (I'd mind less if there were just one) - given the choice, most seem to prefer something compatible with the Arca-Swiss clamp system, which doesn't limit you to a manufacturer if you switch between heads.
    I can also say good things about the 055CXPro3 (I have the previous version), although I tend to think they're a bit pricey these days, and it's stressed by a really big lens - and they're not that small or lightweight. Feisol seem to have a good reputation; I've not tried them. For portability, I like the Velbon REXi L, but it's not quite as stable as a 055CXPro3 and a 67 might be borderline. Unfortunately I suspect the really high-end tripods that combine a lot of carrying capacity with light weight - such as the 3 series Gitzos or a 2-series RRS - would blow your budget. I recommend trying in a decent camera store and see what types of controls you like. For example, I'm not a huge fan of Manfrotto-style flip locks, though I do like their horizontal central column; Gitzo leg sets pinch my fingers between the grips (they've drawn blood), and Arca-Swiss quick-release levers shred my nails. Your mileage may greatly vary.
    Good luck!
  6. it


    I have a bunch of Benro carbon fibre sets, as well as a larger Gitzo Basalt. Highly recommend the Benro brand. (They basically ripped off Gitzo, but did it well.)
  7. Thanks to all for the info. I think the best way to go may be to go to a camera store and look at different models
  8. There are tripods and then there is "The Really Right Stuff" tripods. They are all special order, but there is no comparison. I had my first tripod for 50 years. If I live another 50 a Really Right Stuff tripod is the only one to have.
  9. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    RRS tripods ( and heads, brackets etc) are really good- but for your gear you'll need to grow your budget by at least $500 for the legs alone. And seeing before you buy is more of an issue.
    On which subject, it's unlikely that you'll be able to go to any single photo store (unless its B&H) and see all the tripods you might want to consider.
  10. I sadly don't have the kind of money to spend on a "Really Right Stuff" tripod. Ok, I do, but I also have a two year old, so
    the camera budget isn't what it once was. I live in NJ, so going to B&H is easy. I was thinking of the MeFOTO
    GlobeTrotter - any thoughts? Ian, I'll investigate Benro too. Gitzo and the higher brands are possible if I can sneak it on a
    gift list and someone else buys it :)
  11. If I were near B and H that is what I would do. There is such a competitive field for tripods nowadays. You are best to go there and get some hands on feel for the leg closure design and three legs versus four legs and a post or post with elevator. And a feel for the price difference of carbon vs aluminum. And more than any online search can offer. You can no doubt get a good pair of legs for that price, but the tripod head is a whole other story. You can mix and match and trade up on one or the other. My last buy for leg set was by a company called Enduro. I like it. I also own Manfrotto older ones also good but heavier. RRS looks great but they are out of my range as well ( and it does not sadden me to admit that). I have used RRS heads though and they worth considering if you go for a ball head. Good shopping..
  12. John,
    Unique Photo in Fairfield, NJ on rte 46W has several to play with if that's closer. Their selection is not as vast as BH's, but they may be easier to get to.
    Jim M. from NW NJ
  13. I would add Sirui to the brand lists to look at both for heads and leg sets. A lot will come with how you prioritize your interests and needs. Several brands have aluminum and carbon fiber models that pretty much match each other except for the leg material. CF will cost more and provide an improvement in weight and vibration damping, the aluminum models will be heavier to some extent and be less effective at damping vibration. I'm in Southern California so I see discussions that cf is more comfortable to deal with in cold weather with some interest but not too much practical impact. OTOH, discussions of temperature, use with gloves on, etc., may well be of more importance in your area.
    I think the idea that you look to portability as you already have a heavy tripod that you can use when weight or carry distance and maybe camera size dictate. I wouldn't go for the smallest/lightest most compact "travel" tripods though as I think they trade too much away when considering use with dslrs or larger cameras/lenses.
  14. Take the time and go to B&H. There is a lot of value in getting hands on these things. The last time I bought a tripod I went there and folks were very helpful. They pulled out a tripod for me that was in the catalog, but not on the floor. I have a Benro and I like it. My husband has an Induro. I think these are made by the same company, but both are very nice and came with cases. Both strap nicely in a back pack. It looks like you'll need a head. While you're at the store you can look at both.
  15. Still shooting film, both 35mm and medium format? Amazing! Doesn't the Pentax require a tripod for best sharpness, especially for landscape? Tell us how you make out.
  16. Yup, I still shoot film, tho for the past 1.5 years, I was pretty much shooting only digital, so I'm glad to be getting back into working film. I took my 6x4.5 camera on a trip to Ithaca in August and have really been trying to shoot more film since then.
    I'm glad to have been reminded about Unique Photo. I live not far from them, but don't often buy there because I can buy from B&H and not be charged tax, since I live in NJ. But starting my research there could be good, esp since it's easier than going to NYC.
    I'll let you all know how I make out and attached is a shot of the Bogen beast I currently use.
  17. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Too heavy huh? That's what grandchildren are for.
  18. I'm a long way off from grandchildren, so for now, I still carry it around. Most recent expedition was a few weeks ago

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