Looking for Tripod Reccomendations

Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
850
Location
Rochester, NY
I've never had a good tripod. The ones that I currently own are small and flimsy, and I'm tired of blurry pictures due to wind or even shutter vibration.

Any recommendations on a sturdy one that won't break the bank?
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,885
Location
UK
Depends by how you define not breaking the bank, but having used many pro tripods capable of supporting Up to LF I have settled for Manfrotto carbon fibre as a good 'budget' model choosing the 055 cxpro Here

You will also need to budget for a head either ball or 3 way pan and tilt, which can easily cost the same as this tripod.

This is a personal preference and while I like my Manfrotto MG460 head it does have the disadvantage of not having Arca Swiss mount (I have modified mine to accept AS). So plenty to consider
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2006
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1,400
Real Name
Alvin
I bought a Gitzo 2530 with a Kirk BH-1 head many years ago and it's been a solid setup for me. I've owned other tripods, but nothing has worked so easily as the Gitzo. I really like the twist locks, if the legs are fully collapsed, I can unlock two sections with one twist and lock two sections when locking after breaking down. Nothing gets caught on the twist locks either (like a cabled timer). The legs slide smoothly and easily so setup and breakdown are fast.

I also own a Feisol that I purchased about 7 years ago as a travel tripod. Maybe they perform better now, but the one I own is step down from my Gitzo, except in weight and collapsed size. One of the legs of the Feisol fell off after about 6 months (though they did repair it, I had to send it to China) and I lost one of the rubber feet. I only use the Feisol if I need to pack light. The legs don't collapse or extend as smoothly and the twist locks feel a little spongy and you have to lock/unlock in a specific order.

I think that having a great tripod will be used more, so paying up for a great tripod is worth it. A lesser performing tripod will probably stay in the trunk of your car.

There's a lot more competition now than 10 years ago, so it's good to find out what's out there.

Anyways, that's my two cents.

Alvin
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
4,533
Location
Redwood City, CA
I have both Gitzo (4 tripods - 0, 1, 2 Series and an Explorer 2 series ) and RRS (3 series).

The 0 series is great with an RRS BH-25 and is so light it's almost unnoticeable when carried. Not great in height or stability, but so, so light it's easy to carry on long hikes.

The 1 series with Markins Q10 - a great size/weight/height compromise. It has supported a D810 and 200-500, but that's really beyond it's optimal capability. Usually stays in my car - just in case or fits in my luggage when traveling.

The 2 series get the most use with an Arca Swiss Z1 and Kirk knob release. It's light, amazingly stable and the best head I've ever used. It can handle anything smoothly.

The 2 series Explorer has a Manfrotto 410 Geared head and I love it when doing precision work where a geared head is optimal. On the other hand the tripod's top mechanism is very heavy and negates the advantages of the expensive carbon fiber. It never leaves the house.

The RRS 3 series has an RRS BH-55 and is primarily used with a Wimberley Sidekick and the 200-500 in the backyard for birds. I just never want to carry it along. I bought the tripod with the center column to better adjust height, but the extra weight wasn't worth the ease of height adjustment and I've since removed it. I prefer the Gitzo's legs and have gotten pinched when setting up the RRS. I like buying locally (RRS is in California) and have many RRS products, but the Gitzo's have proven superior in use.

I'd buy any of the first three Gitzo's again, but not the other two. They're useful, but not worth the money and weight.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
850
Location
Rochester, NY
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that there had been so many responses, notifications weren't on! Oops!!

I shoot with a D700 most of the time. My large glass is the 70-200 VR II. So 4 1/2 to 5-ish pounds of camera and lens. I also use the 24-70, which is a little lighter, but not much.

I need something that is somewhat compact. I've only ever had the tilt and pan tripods though the ball heads look very interesting.

I tend to haul the camera with me a lot, so able to withstand bumps and bruises is essential. Especially with two kids under three to trip over - and get into my stuff. All. The. Time.

I'll go take a look at that article. Thanks!
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
101
Location
Frederick MD
If you want top of the line stuff that's compatible with your rig, consider the Really Right Stuff TVC 24 or 24L, or any of the Gitzo series 3 models. If they're too expensive for your tastes, then an Induro or Feisol model will most likely suit your needs. More important than the tripod is the ball head. Don't try to get away with a cheap ball head, as it's a false economy. Stick with either a Really Right Stuff model (BH40 would probably suit you), or Kirk BH3 or BH1, or Markins Q10 or Q20, or Arca Swiss (I think their model is Z1). They're a bit pricey, but well worth it.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
4,553
One thing to keep in mind is that most manufacturers seem to inflate shamelessly the load capacities of their tripods and ballheads. I have found that multiplying your gear weight by 10 gives the number, that the manufacturer supplied load capacity should match.

Take your worst case scenario, like D4S + TC20E III + 400/2.8VR, that's 13.9 lb (6.3 kg). So I'd set my eyes to tripods capable of supporting 140 lb loads (63 kg) per manufacturer specs. Same for your gimbal and ballhead. Anything less, and the end result is a flimsy p.o.s., in my experience.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
850
Location
Rochester, NY
This has all been very useful. I don't buy much new, so now starts the hunt! Thank you for all the information. Please keep it coming...

When I was in Glacier two years ago (not a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, but it will be a long time before we return), with a crap tripod, messing up amazing long exposure photos because of tripod movement, I realized the absurdity of putting $5,000+ of camera and glass on a $20 tripod was: 1. stupid 2. a disaster waiting to happen and 3. an exercise in frustration

I will say that I had no idea that good, basic tripods were almost a grand. I know that gear prices go sky high, but I wasn't expecting that from "basic but adequate" stuff. Eh, live and learn.

Already found a couple on craigslist, and RIT is local, students DUMP gear every spring.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
4,533
Location
Redwood City, CA
This has all been very useful. I don't buy much new, so now starts the hunt! Thank you for all the information. Please keep it coming...

When I was in Glacier two years ago (not a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, but it will be a long time before we return), with a crap tripod, messing up amazing long exposure photos because of tripod movement, I realized the absurdity of putting $5,000+ of camera and glass on a $20 tripod was: 1. stupid 2. a disaster waiting to happen and 3. an exercise in frustration

I will say that I had no idea that good, basic tripods were almost a grand. I know that gear prices go sky high, but I wasn't expecting that from "basic but adequate" stuff. Eh, live and learn.

Already found a couple on craigslist, and RIT is local, students DUMP gear every spring.
Yes expensive, but the best will outlast several generations of cameras. I still have a heavy aluminum Gitzo from the '70's that functions perfectly - that's almost 50 years old. One problem with buying either Gitzo or RRS used is that people tend to buy them and use them for life (although since I'm old my wife may sell mine off in ….).
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,180
Location
England
I've never had a good tripod. The ones that I currently own are small and flimsy, and I'm tired of blurry pictures due to wind or even shutter vibration.

Any recommendations on a sturdy one that won't break the bank?
I have a Gitzo Explorer in carbon fibre and with three leg sections. It is fine with my 200mm micro lens and camera. It's okay with my 300mm F4 lens too. Carbon fibre really does damp vibrations. My tripod is about 10 years old and works like new. Large areas of paint have flaked off the metal, apart from that it's perfect. I'm not saying Gitzo is the best, there may be Chinese clones that are nearly as good, or maybe even better.

I used a Markins M10 ball head for 10 years, it works like new, and has the best anodising I have ever seen. However, I had issues with it locking up and I always hated the tension lock and pan knob. I now use an FLM CB48F head which is cheaper and IMO better. You don't want to skimp on the head. And you also want an L-bracket, Sunwayfoto are first rate and inexpensive.
 
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