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Looking for tripod setup for medium format rig

Discussion in 'Tripods, Ball Heads, and Gimbals' started by goffer, May 25, 2011.

  1. goffer

    goffer

    Nov 22, 2007
    San Diego
    Going to go do some landscape shooting this weekend mostly with the medium format rigs... I wont be using it much, maybe a few times a year, so I don't need anything too fancy, especially since the weight on the legs will never exceed 10 lbs. I was wondering if this was a good setup, hoping to keep the budget at around $250:

    Legs: Vanguard Alta Pro 264AT LINK

    Head: Vanguard SBH-300 LINK
     
  2. venchka

    venchka

    633
    Sep 28, 2010
    Texas
    I use 2 medium format cameras: Pentax 6x7 & Hasselblad. Largest lens: 150mm on the 6x7. I also own 3 4x5 cameras. The heaviest being a Linhof Technika V. Largest lens: 250mm/6.3 Fujinon-W. Add the Canon 1D MkIII with 70-200/2.8 lens. That pretty much covers my "big guns".
    I use all of those on a RRS BH-55 head with Gitzo 3 Series CF, Zone VI wood and Manfrotto aluminum legs. All 3 work very well.
    The RRS BH-55 head is a masterpiece. It does everything you could ask of a ballhead. Good and bad. The bad: Ballheads are a pain to use when you want the camera dead level and plumb.
    Does anybody really need Gitzo legs and RRS heads? Probably not.
    Does anybody need fool proof gear holding their expensive cameras steady & secure? You bet. Buy quality once. It's false economy to buy cheap gear.
    If I had no tripod and head at all I wouldn't turn down a decent, working, made in New Jersey, $100 or less Tiltall from the 60s or 70s. My second choice would be a set of all metal Bogen-Manftotto (same product) legs from the late 80s or 90s. The 3021 legs come to mind. I would put a good 3-way head on the legs for landscape/architectural work. The geared 405-410 models are nice. The Gitzo 1570M head in good shape at a decent price would work as well.
    Shop used. Tripods & heads don't break. If they do, you can spot a problem in 30 seconds or less.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Smiert Spionam

    Smiert Spionam

    Mar 11, 2010
    Texas
    Uh, no. I'm sorry, but that's just silly.

    Benro (aka Induro, etc.) is a cloner, too.
     
  4. Smiert Spionam

    Smiert Spionam

    Mar 11, 2010
    Texas
    For inexpensive, sturdy support, I'd recommend Manfrotto or a used aluminum Gitzo (like the 1226 that's in the For Sale forum right now). Manfrottos are tough, reliable, and have a decent warranty.

    For the ballhead, knock-offs like the Vanguard are even more suspect. There's a reason why RRS, Markins, etc. charge the prices they do -- they're very finely machined out of expensive materials. The imitations don't measure up. The cheapest decent Arca-compatible ballheads I've heard of are from Photo Clam, which get decent reviews here. Short of that, I'd stick with basic Manfrotto or a Giottos.
     
  5. venchka

    venchka

    633
    Sep 28, 2010
    Texas
    Try to borrow both types of heads before you buy.
     
  6. alex66

    alex66

    185
    Jun 13, 2007
    Bedford England
    I have a manfrotto 055pro legs and a manfrotto head, I bought the legs used for the eqivalent of $150 ish. They hold a lot, I have had on them a Camco 5x4 I think you could put a 10x8 . Tripods are one of those things where a good set will last you a life time, its well worth buying a good brand, you wont have to buy twice or thrice and in the end you will buy a good set. Dont knock using a pan tilt type head, they are a lot easier to do precise adjustments and the head I am currently using is near the base of Manfrottos range but will still hold a medium format slr. I borrowed a better head for the large format though, I think you have to spend serious money to get a good ball head.
     
  7. GH41

    GH41

    Nov 18, 2008
    HHI
    There is NO such thing as a free (or cheap) lunch! GH
     
  8. goffer

    goffer

    Nov 22, 2007
    San Diego
    Thanks for the reply's everyone :)  Due to time constraints, I just ordered the set on Amazon in the OP last last night to get it before the trip. I dug deep for bad reviews on the head and didn't find much except 4-5/5 star ratings. I shall see how it goes. Really appreciate all the comments, wish I had more time to research :( 
     
  9. sjd996

    sjd996

    550
    Sep 21, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Not used the SBH-300, but the SBH-250 is a good head **for the price**.

    The simply don't compare with a decent Arca head though. Movement is very smooth. Lots of creep/movement while tightening, and you have to really crank on the controls to lock the head down (at least compared to the Photo Clam or above style heads). They also aren't Arca compatible.

    Vanguard also does an ABH series (much more expensive). These are Arca-compatible, and use the same "ball in cup" design found in heads from Arca-Swiss, Markins, Photo Clam etc - these are excellent heads and compare well to the other brands. The SBH-Series gets the job done on a budget though.
     
  10. Smiert Spionam

    Smiert Spionam

    Mar 11, 2010
    Texas
    Sorry! I did read the whole post, but missed the joke entirely.

    ;) 

    There was some silliness when Benro first came out -- people (falsely) claimed they had been making Gitzos all along, and just decided to label some of their own. I mistakenly thought you were repeating that claim.
     
  11. goffer

    goffer

    Nov 22, 2007
    San Diego
    A little update.... had great success with the legs and ball head :)  Didn't have a single issue or gripe. Didn't mind the weight too much either in the 100 degree heat and it stood strong in the 20mph winds :) 
     
  12. madecov

    madecov

    682
    Nov 25, 2010
    Houston Texas
    I have the SBH-250 head from Vanguard. It is decent. Im not using my equipment hard or currently needing Arca compatible. I may end up swapping a few heads to Arca compatible. It seems Markins and Photo clam are the "clones" to go with.
     
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