Tripod recommendation for Star Trails ...

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by grant h, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. I am wanting to start trying to shoot star trails. I will be
    shooting throughout the midwest (mostly Ohio and Indiana). Do you
    have any tripod recommendations for this type of shooting. I will be
    using a Nikon FM2n with a 50mm lens. Budget less than $60 please.
    Currently looking at some of the lower end Giottos. Thanks!
  2. My 2-cent:

    A simple way to look at your question is to consider the camera+lens+tripod as a mechanical system. Your goal is to minimize the vibration of the entire system during the long exposure. To minimize the vibration, there are 2 ways: (1) increase the stiffness of the system, and/or (2) increase the system mass.

    Due to your limited budget, you should pick one that has the fattest legs, and the legs can be locked very firmly; the leg brace also helps � to increase the stiffness. In addition, the bottom of the center column should have a hook so that you can place a weight (say, your backpack, or a balloon fill with sand/water, etc.) � to increase the mass.

    Hope this helps
  3. While I normally don't recommend Ritz camera...their two largest tripod's are pretty nice, and I've been well served by one of them for years now. As I recall I paid around $60.
  4. Unless there is a wind, virtually any tripod that will stay locked in place with your camera will work. The mirror and focal plane shutter vibrations, that require heavier tripods to dampen, are usually only noticeable in exposures between 1/30-1/2 sec. In long time exposures, like you're wanting to do, they won't be noticed. The most important factors for star trails are a good fast lens and film. Good luck.
  5. Hi Grant, one thing you must not forget is a cable release for the camera. If you have ANY tripod now, take it out tonight if possible, moon light is at small amount right now. Put your largest lens, 2x or whatever you have and experiment. ORION is high, venus is in the early evening east sky. I not sure about MARS if it is still visible but I think it is, and don't forget about the biggest bright one up there, JUPITER. Happy shooting. jim
  6. Mike is right. This is not a very demanding application
    for a tripod. Unless there's something to make it move (wind?),
    the camera will stay still. I've used a small cheap flimsy plastic
    tabletop tripod and gotten very good results. The key is to set it
    on a sturdy surface, and use the "hat trick" to absolutely avoid
    vibrations during exposure. The "hat trick" means to start and
    end the exposure by removing and replacing a hat over the
    lens, without ever actually touching the camera during the
    exposure. Only open/close the shutter while the hat is covering
    the lens.
    A sturdy tripod can be a joy to use, and can let you afford to be a
    little less cautious about avoiding vibration sources, but just
    about anything can be made to work.
  7. agreed, this is an easy exercise. I've used a $15 Ultrapod just as effectively as a fancy carbon legset and ballhead.

    don't be concerned with what stars or planets are visible - if your exposure is more than a couple minutes, all you'll notice of them is bigger or smaller streaks.
  8. jpb


    What Andy Radin says is true, except in capturing the North Star.
  9. jpb


    for example: <img src="" align="left">
    The "tripod" used was a sweatshirt on a boulder... pretty cheap but not so portable (at least I know it'll be there when I return, though).
  10. pvp


    The "tripod" used was a sweatshirt on a boulder... pretty cheap but not so portable (at least I know it'll be there when I return, though).
    You left your sweatshirt on the rock? :)
  11. jpb


    actually almost! But no, I took the tripod head home with me and left the body secured to the ground.
  12. jpb


    Nice photos, by the way, Alan... I really like the zebra and the elephant.
  13. sorry, I just meant that you won't be identifying any constellations or planets with long exposures, so no point planning your photos around what's in the sky at any given time.

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