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Tripod makers make buying their tripods far too hard.

Discussion in 'Tripods, Ball Heads, and Gimbals' started by danielbaer, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Makers of tripods need to simplify their selection of products so it's easier to navigate, and choose a tripod for your specific need without having to ask for help. What are bogen's best choices of tripod legs for wildlife (bird) photography, with a D2h sized body, a 7 pound lens. Is the 475b a good option? It seems to cheap for it to work well, help.
  2. The 475b looks like it comes with a geared head? not sure. If true I'm not sure I'd like it.

    I have a Manfrotto 055 as well as a Gitzo 5540 for the larger lenses. I would think the 055 would work great for your setup....as would a number of other manufacturers. I'd look more in terms of buying legs and a separate head.
    If you haven't already, this is a good read for an overview of tripod purchasing considerations: http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

  3. I'm already set on buying the head and legs separately, i'm getting the wimberley mk II for my telephoto.
  4. Manfrotto probably learned that from Gitzo, I agree it seem like a battle to pick out a pod from literature or on the net. I find it much easier at a good camera store, where I can look and touch.
  5. Are there any tripod legs that are designed specifically for wildlife/long lenses?
  6. You'll really enjoy the Wimberley....for me it makes the use of long lenses so much more enjoyable from the tripod. I've used it on both the 1325 and now the 5540.

    I'm not aware of "specifically" designed tripods for wildlife/long lenses...someone will have to help here. Out in the field, it seems carbon fiber tends to get used, potentially to reduce the effects of water/salt water and for lighter carrying weight. I've seen and used both the Gitzo 1325 and 1548 (old series numbers)(new series #'s are the 3500 I "think" for the 1325, and 5500 for the 1548....??) being used a fair amount in the field. John Shaw used the 1325 in a class I took with him and was very positive on it. Both will hold sizeable weights and remain solid.

  7. barnclos

    barnclos Guest

    Gitzo do have a 'configurator' at: http://configurator.gitzo.com:20080/gitzoConfiguratorWS/default.html which takes weight, focal length, height etc. and comes up with spossible matches.
    Like most of these things, it is a good starting point to narrow down your search. When I fed your data into the configurator - with a few guesses where necessary - it suggested either a 2 series or a 3 series.

    The next stage is then to trawl this forum (and others) to get a second opinion. With a D2h and long lenses, most people on most forums would suggest the 3 series (which will still be in its comfort zone) rather than the 2 series (which will be near its limits). Trawling the forums will also provide you with alternatives to Gitzo (unless you go to DPReview, where suggesting anything other than Gitzo is liable to get you banned :wink:) .

    Finally, try and have a play with the tripod as there are apparently small things which can make using the tripod a pleasure or a PITA. For example, leg locks seem to divide the masses: some people prefer the elegance, ease of use and sophistication of twist-locks, others prefer the clunky, snaggy, carbuncles which are snap-locks :wink:.

  8. Link didn't work, i'm still undecided between gitzo and bogen though. A wimberely head will mount on both, right? Bogen does have more appealing prices for their top of the line aluminum tripods, I just want to know what carrying 17 pounds feels like though.

    Edit: I got it to work, the best option according to what I put in is the Gitzo G1500, it's price isn't too outrageous, and it holds 33 pounds, and weighs about 10. Anyone ever used one?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2008
  9. scooptdoo

    scooptdoo Guest

    max hight?,3 or 4 legs?get the heaviest t pod you can afford.
  10. I looked at Manfrotto and Gitzo primarily but others as well. Things I looked for to help me narrow my choices were:

    - maximum height without center post being raised. (Chose one without a center post). Remember, you won't be on flat ground all the time and sometimes you will have to extend one or two of the legs to get it level. If the maximum height is exactly eye level for you (with ball head) then it will be too short some times. Another thought on height. If you are shooting birds or airplanes, you will be shooting up in the air and your eye piece will be very low. You will need to be able to extend the tripod higher or your knees, back, and neck will start killing you from bending over to get to the low eye piece.

    - weight of tripod. When you start adding lens, camera, and ball head to the tripod, the weight goes up quickly. Try to borrow a friends tripod and put your kit together. Throw it on your shoulder and try walking a mile with the tripod digging into your shoulder. IT HURTS! Remember, you will probably also be carrying a shoulder bag with extra camera gear in it, or a 2nd body with a 2nd lens.

    - maximum load weight. This is easy to figure out once you have your head picked out. You know the weight of your camera and the largest lens you will mount. But, you will also need to add in the mounting plates, along with the head.

    I ended up with the Gitzo 3540 XLS. It does not have a center post at all (which is the weakest point anyway), four sections, and extends to about 6'6" or so. I'm no where near that height so I frequently don't need to extend the last section. But, when I need it, the extra height is there for me.
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