Cheap and lightweight tripod for backpacking?

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Jan 14, 2010
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I used to have an old velbon cheapo tripod that i took backpacking, but I left it in Africa after it fell apart :D

Any suggestions for a simple, lightweight tripod for backpacking that's not too expensive? I don't want any $500 carbon fibre tripods, unless you're going to donate the money along with the suggestion!
 
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Mar 31, 2010
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Define inexpensive. As in, what is your budget? That will help narrow the list. But remember, inexpensive should not mean cheap. Because cheap+tripod = falls apart. It also means blurry photos due to movement and vibration.

Thinking outside the box a little, a Gorillapod may suffice depending on the camera. The Slik Mini-Pro III is also small and inexpensive, here...

http://www.adorama.com/SLMP3.html - $29.00

If you want a taller, more traditional tripod there are many options. For example...

The Manfrotto 732CY M-Y Carbon Fiber Tripod - $174.95

Here...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/663224-REG/Manfrotto_732CY_732CY_M_Y_Carbon_Fiber.html
 
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Joined
Jan 14, 2010
Messages
529
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California
Define inexpensive. As in, what is your budget? That will help narrow the list.

Well since I already spent $120 055xprob with a benro b-2 ball head, I'd want to spend probably around 50-70... i'm really not looking for ground breaking technology, just something that will hold up at least a few backpacking trips to the snow/mountains.
 
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You may want to consider the used market as well. But for that price range, new, you are probably looking at something like a Gorillapod or the Slik above.

Another option is this Benro...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/717667-REG/Benro_A150EXU_A_150EXU_Digital_Tripod_Kit.html

A gorrilla pod might work, but not for most of the stuff i do (landscapes). And you're right, by cheap i meant low price, not cheap quality. I am more than happy to go with used market, in fact, almost 90% of the stuff i buy is used :D
 
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When it comes to tripods, "pay once, cry once", or you may end up paying more in the long run (and end up with a room full of tripods you don't like).

I got many awesome shots with the velbon, used it for three years, it went all over the world too! I think i'll try to try some out myself to see what fits my needs best...
 
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have you thougfht about using a small bean-bag as a camera support instead of a tripod?

it's a lot lighter and certainly cheaper to use a 3/4 full 1kg bag of rice (or similar).
 
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have you thougfht about using a small bean-bag as a camera support instead of a tripod?

it's a lot lighter and certainly cheaper to use a 3/4 full 1kg bag of rice (or similar).

I don't think that would work too well for landscape shots, especially in the snow! I'm sure it would work well for some instances though.
 
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Sep 28, 2010
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What kind of shutter speeds do you normally use? ISO? In other words, how much stability do you need?
The reason I ask is because I have used a bamboo pole as a combination hiking staff & monopod. Cut to length to place the camera's eyepiece at my eye level. With ASA 100-something B&W and color film the bamboo hiking staff worked fine to steady my camera as I gasped for air at 12k+ feet in Colorado. The camera in question: Pentax 6x7 with 105mm lens. I found the bamboo for free. I put a heavy rubber crutch tip on the camera end to help hold the camera level & keep it from slipping. Total investment: $2 maybe?
I still have the bamboo stick AND a Pentax 6x7.
 
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Haha nice bamboo trick! I tend to like to do long night exposures with the stars though, so I'd probably need something a bit more sturdy than bamboo!! Maybe you could mount a ball head on the bamboo too :D
 
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Go ahead. Make fun. 1"+ diameter bamboo is significantly stiffer than you think. For long exposures, stability and backpacking weight...the choices are beyond your budget and your LOL.
 
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I understand that in Asia they still build scaffolding with bamboo. Scaffolding to build highrise buildings. GH
 
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the best cane!

I understand that in Asia they still build scaffolding with bamboo. Scaffolding to build highrise buildings. GH

I occasionally need the assistance of a cane for support and 170lbs can put a lot of stress on a cane. I've broken a couple of beautiful carved wooden canes that were supposed to support 300 lbs+. The only one I can reliably count on for support is the bamboo cane I've had for almost 10 years.
Bamboo is great!
 
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A suitable flat rock, a bean bag (as previously suggested), mirror lockup and the self timer will make steady long exposures.
It also helps to tell the whole story up front.
T.J. Avery goes way out of the way in Big Bend and photographs the night. Ask him how he holds a camera steady.
http://www.texbrick.com/photo/proj_ns/index.html

The original, made in New Jersey, also sold under the Leitz name, Tiltall tripod is sturdy, bulletproof, inexpensive (buy it once, use it forever), and will hold cameras up to 8x10. Spare parts are still available. DO NOT BUY THE KNOCKOFFS FROM ASIA. The Tiltall tripods are not as light as a carbon fiber model. Save weight somewhere else. They sell for $100 or less.

One more option: I own and use this tripod. It is better made than the current stuff. Bogen/Manfrotto 3021S. Add the head of your choice. It saves weight by being short. About waist high maximum height. It also allows the legs to spread almost horizontal for ground level work. Easily holds my Linhof Technika V.

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&source=hp&q=bogen+3021s+tripod&aq=0j&aqi=g-j1&aql=t&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=ecbf8a9c27052cf6
 
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