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What to look for in a tripod....

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Anonymous
April 6, 2005 6:47:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot, and
obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I did
say general purpose!

With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its difficult
to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not essential,
and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a tripod? Any
recommendations would be helpful.

More about : tripod

April 6, 2005 6:47:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"erics" <eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP> wrote in message
news:4253e88b$0$305$cc9e4d1f@news-text.dial.pipex.com...
> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
> experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot,
> and obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I
> will also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I
> did say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its
> difficult to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not
> essential, and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a
> tripod? Any recommendations would be helpful.
>

Hi there.

The first, and almost the only, consideration for a tripod, is its rigidity.

When you are looking at them in the shops, work on the principle that most
of them are useless.

Your first test is to extend them to their maximum height, and then lean on
them as heavily as you can, to see if the legs and joints flex. Second is to
apply a twisting action to the top, while holding one leg in place with your
foot.

If there is any movement, discard that one from your list.

Once you have found one or two which pass your tests, then you can think
about features like Pan and Tilt Head or Ball and Socket Head.

Roy G
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 6:47:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I have several tripods. I have a big heavy one that I keep in my studio....a
room the wife calls the dining room. And I have a lighter one that I can
strap on my back when I go out. Those are the two I use most, but I have
table top tripod too and a mono pod and I light weight one I use for a slave
flash.

So...to answer your question...there are lots of uses and which one gets
used depends on the use. You need to let us know how you are going to use
it.


"erics" <eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP> wrote in message
news:4253e88b$0$305$cc9e4d1f@news-text.dial.pipex.com...
> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
> experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot,
and
> obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
> also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I did
> say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its
difficult
> to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not essential,
> and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a tripod? Any
> recommendations would be helpful.
>
>
Related resources
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 6:47:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

erics wrote:
> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
> experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot, and
> obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
> also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I did
> say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its difficult
> to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not essential,
> and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a tripod? Any
> recommendations would be helpful.
>
>
Strength, stability, light weight (unless you expect only studio use),
and a good sturdy mount. You can pay a lot for the light weight, so
don't go overboard for any single specification and you should get a
good general purpose one.
Pay attention to how easy it is to set up and take down as the more time
you mess with that, the less you have to take pictures.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 6:47:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Roy" <royphoty@iona-guesthouse.co.uk> writes:

> The first, and almost the only, consideration for a tripod, is its rigidity.
>
> When you are looking at them in the shops, work on the principle that most
> of them are useless.
>
> Your first test is to extend them to their maximum height, and then lean on
> them as heavily as you can, to see if the legs and joints flex. Second is to
> apply a twisting action to the top, while holding one leg in place with your
> foot.
>
> If there is any movement, discard that one from your list.

(note this is for a full size tripod)

I always recomend that people take their camera (and flash, flash bracket,
battery pack if you are going to be using those as well), and take them into
the store and set it up to see how stable the whole thing is. I never can find
a place to put down my camera, so see how easy it is to extend a tripod while
holding the camera in one hand.

In addition to setting the camera up horizontally, set it up vertically to see
whether mounting the camera that way unbalances the tripod (unless you use an L
bracket to compensate or a Stroboframe Vertaflip which keeps the camera
centered).

Then look through the viewfinder. If you find yourself hunched over, you might
want to select a larger tripod (or resign yourself to chiropractor bills :-).

--
Michael Meissner
email: mrmnews@the-meissners.org
http://www.the-meissners.org
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 7:28:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Gene Palmiter" <palmiter_gene@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:QaS4e.194$ox3.41@trnddc03...
>I have several tripods. I have a big heavy one that I keep in my
>studio....a
> room the wife calls the dining room. And I have a lighter one that I can
> strap on my back when I go out. Those are the two I use most, but I have
> table top tripod too and a mono pod and I light weight one I use for a
> slave
> flash.
>
> So...to answer your question...there are lots of uses and which one gets
> used depends on the use. You need to let us know how you are going to use
> it.
>

I did try in my original post:

>I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot,
and
> obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
> also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and studio-type shots. I did
> say general purpose!

I know that is not that specific, but as I said I am just starting and its a
bit too soon to be specific or specialised. I guess initially need a "jack
of all trades, master of none" type thing, which is a difficult thing to ask
for I know.
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 7:36:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <4253e88b$0$305$cc9e4d1f@news-text.dial.pipex.com>,
eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP (erics) wrote:

> What should I look for in a tripod?
3 legs and a place to screw on a camera. Usually does the trick.

Sorry...

Iain
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 8:39:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

First thing to decide is how often you want to carry the tripod....

If rarely then there are many excellent rigid tripod/head combinations -
they are all heavy!

If often then you either go for an inexpensive one (Slik/Velbon etc) and
accept a bit of flex OR cough up lots of money and get a really good travel
tripod (Gitzo etc.) in alloy/carbon fibre etc...

Heads mostly split into ball or three way adjustments. Both have their
advantages - I prefer three way but good (and expensive) ball heads are good
too... cheap ball heads are not good with long/heavy lenses...

Ideally a tripod should go to eye height or more without extending any
centre colomn and be rigid at this height.
This requires hefty construction (weighty) or clever materials/hi-tech
construction (costly) - you pay your money and make you choice...

Most folk end up with two or more tripods - a heavy rigid one for
studio/occasional carrying and a lighter one for travel/outdoors.

I have a Manfrotto 055 NAT3 + 141RC NAT3 combo for solidity and an old
Velbon VE3 for travel.... I wish I could afford a Gitzo ;-)

The ones to avoid are the cheap or expensive, wobbly ones.... be prepared to
spend a bit more than you may have expected for a good one - after all they
do last for ever (almost) and a good one only has to be bought once.

Guy



erics wrote:
> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the
> learning experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose
> tripod to help experiment with the camera's settings and the effect
> it has on the shot, and obviously keeping the camera in the same
> place will help! I suspect I will also use it for landscapes, may be
> portraits, and study-type shots. I did say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its
> difficult to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but
> not essential, and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for
> in a tripod? Any recommendations would be helpful.
Anonymous
April 6, 2005 9:43:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 4/6/05 10:39 AM, in article 3bie5dF6gk2qiU1@individual.net, "Bigguy"
<gtittley@nospam.hotmail.nospam.com> wrote:

> First thing to decide is how often you want to carry the tripod....
>
> If rarely then there are many excellent rigid tripod/head combinations -
> they are all heavy!
>
> If often then you either go for an inexpensive one (Slik/Velbon etc) and
> accept a bit of flex OR cough up lots of money and get a really good travel
> tripod (Gitzo etc.) in alloy/carbon fibre etc...
>
> Heads mostly split into ball or three way adjustments. Both have their
> advantages - I prefer three way but good (and expensive) ball heads are good
> too... cheap ball heads are not good with long/heavy lenses...
>
> Ideally a tripod should go to eye height or more without extending any
> centre colomn and be rigid at this height.
> This requires hefty construction (weighty) or clever materials/hi-tech
> construction (costly) - you pay your money and make you choice...
>
> Most folk end up with two or more tripods - a heavy rigid one for
> studio/occasional carrying and a lighter one for travel/outdoors.
>
> I have a Manfrotto 055 NAT3 + 141RC NAT3 combo for solidity and an old
> Velbon VE3 for travel.... I wish I could afford a Gitzo ;-)
>
> The ones to avoid are the cheap or expensive, wobbly ones.... be prepared to
> spend a bit more than you may have expected for a good one - after all they
> do last for ever (almost) and a good one only has to be bought once.
>
> Guy
>
All good points. Relative to the last point, I can't believe how many
people post here (the OP excepted) relative to getting some el-cheapo tripod
after dropping $2000 +++ on camera and lenses. The best camera and lens in
the world will not take good photos when mounted to a tripod that picks up
every vibration from the floor or sways in the wind!
It is usually a shock to see how much a good tripod costs but, once
purchased, it will be serviceable for a long, long time.
Chuck
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 5:44:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Bigguy wrote:
> First thing to decide is how often you want to carry the tripod....
>
> If rarely then there are many excellent rigid tripod/head combinations -
> they are all heavy!
>
> If often then you either go for an inexpensive one (Slik/Velbon etc) and
> accept a bit of flex OR cough up lots of money and get a really good travel
> tripod (Gitzo etc.) in alloy/carbon fibre etc...
>
> Heads mostly split into ball or three way adjustments. Both have their
> advantages - I prefer three way but good (and expensive) ball heads are good
> too... cheap ball heads are not good with long/heavy lenses...
>
> Ideally a tripod should go to eye height or more without extending any
> centre colomn and be rigid at this height.
> This requires hefty construction (weighty) or clever materials/hi-tech
> construction (costly) - you pay your money and make you choice...
>
> Most folk end up with two or more tripods - a heavy rigid one for
> studio/occasional carrying and a lighter one for travel/outdoors.
>
> I have a Manfrotto 055 NAT3 + 141RC NAT3 combo for solidity and an old
> Velbon VE3 for travel.... I wish I could afford a Gitzo ;-)
>
> The ones to avoid are the cheap or expensive, wobbly ones.... be prepared to
> spend a bit more than you may have expected for a good one - after all they
> do last for ever (almost) and a good one only has to be bought once.
>
> Guy
>
>
>
> erics wrote:
>
>>In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the
>>learning experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose
>>tripod to help experiment with the camera's settings and the effect
>>it has on the shot, and obviously keeping the camera in the same
>>place will help! I suspect I will also use it for landscapes, may be
>>portraits, and study-type shots. I did say general purpose!
>>
>>With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its
>>difficult to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but
>>not essential, and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for
>>in a tripod? Any recommendations would be helpful.
>
>
>
Don't forget the 'pano' heads the allow the camera to rotate properly
for good panorama photos. That is probably the only thing I would
actually USE a tripod for. Otherwise, they impede the process of taking
a picture too much for my needs.
Even the best of them aren't exactly 'pocketable'. Grin.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 8:21:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"erics" <eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP> wrote in message
news:4253e88b$0$305$cc9e4d1f@news-text.dial.pipex.com...
> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
> experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot,
and
> obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
> also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I did
> say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its
difficult
> to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not essential,
> and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a tripod? Any
> recommendations would be helpful.


I got a sherpa 250 with a velbon head after out growing my elcheapo one.
The sherpa 250 is a great deal at 109 bucks and the head is adjustable in
both axis just by loosening one handle, but if you just want to move one
axis there is enough resistance not to affect the other one. This is
probably still an elcheapo tripod to some but its way more sturdy then my
old one and the head is nice and solid.
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 8:37:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

www.harryphotos.com <<--pictures taken with the help of this tripod here..
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 4:38:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Thu, 07 Apr 2005 04:37:42 GMT, in rec.photo.digital , "Dirty Harry"
<NOJUNK@FU.ca> in <qO25e.917058$Xk.71462@pd7tw3no> wrote:

>
>www.harryphotos.com <<--pictures taken with the help of this tripod here..
>
The first bridge picture in the Edmonton folder is beautiful. I got to
get me a tripod. How long did you have to wait for "River Bridge 2"?
Sunset5 look2 like Monument Valley: pretty neat.


--
Matt Silberstein

All in all, if I could be any animal, I would want to be
a duck or a goose. They can fly, walk, and swim. Plus,
there there is a certain satisfaction knowing that at the
end of your life you will taste good with an orange sauce
or, in the case of a goose, a chestnut stuffing.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 3:31:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <4253e88b$0$305$cc9e4d1f@news-text.dial.pipex.com>,
"erics" <eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP> wrote:

> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
> experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot, and
> obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
> also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I did
> say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its difficult
> to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not essential,
> and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a tripod? Any
> recommendations would be helpful.

UK prices for tripods (and a lot of other stuff too) are outrageous.
Last summer I was looking for a lightweight one - the velbon P-Max
seemed about right. But prices in the UK were about £70-80 on average -
coming back to Japan, I picked up a P-Max for just 7000 yen (£34)

Decide what you want.

Something sturdy, but heavy? Do you use a car?

Something to slip in a daypack on a long ramble or hike?

Do you want a quick release head? - this is a small plate screwed
directly to the camera which fits on the tripod with a lever or clip -
very convenient, usually.
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 6:21:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"erics" <eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP> wrote in message
news:4253e88b$0$305$cc9e4d1f@news-text.dial.pipex.com...
> In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
> experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
> experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot,
> and obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I
> will also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I
> did say general purpose!
>
> With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its
> difficult to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not
> essential, and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a
> tripod? Any recommendations would be helpful.
>
>
Something rugged. I like outdoor photography and sometimes will collapse my
tripod with camera attached to move from place to place in some areas. This
could be a tricky situation, and a bad one with a flimsy, cheap tripod. I
like a light tripod that is rugged and has legs that collapse very short.
Shooting outdoors brings along with it some interesting shooting positions
and you need to be ready all the time or you may miss that great shot. What
is essential to me may not be to you and vice-versa.


Ed
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 10:54:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

This link is an excellent explanation of what to look for in a tripod.

http://bythom.com/support.htm

A good tripod is expensive. My setup cost over $1000: Gitzo 1228, Arcratech
ballhead, Really Right Stuff panoramic head, and RRS L-plate. I use to think
$100 was a lot, but it was the best improvement for taking pix. Now I can
use my 20D and get winners.
April 11, 2005 11:27:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Rick (Saga 35) wrote:

> This link is an excellent explanation of what to look for in a tripod.
>
> http://bythom.com/support.htm


Thanks, he explains the pitfalls very cleverly.


>
> A good tripod is expensive. My setup cost over $1000: Gitzo 1228, Arcratech
> ballhead, Really Right Stuff panoramic head, and RRS L-plate. I use to think
> $100 was a lot, but it was the best improvement for taking pix. Now I can
> use my 20D and get winners.
>
>
April 12, 2005 1:33:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Wed, 6 Apr 2005 14:47:53 +0100, "erics"
<eric_NewsGrps@SpaMthe-stannards.co.ukTraP> wrote:

>In am new to the world of dSLR/SLR photography and enjoying the learning
>experience. I would like to purchase a general purpose tripod to help
>experiment with the camera's settings and the effect it has on the shot, and
>obviously keeping the camera in the same place will help! I suspect I will
>also use it for landscapes, may be portraits, and study-type shots. I did
>say general purpose!
>
>With tripods starting from a few GBP rising to several hundred its difficult
>to know which "features" are essential, which are nice but not essential,
>and which are just pure luxury. What should I look for in a tripod? Any
>recommendations would be helpful.
>

I've been through tripod selection on several iterations. I believe
the advise given in the bythom article, already cited, should be
heeded.

I tried to follow it and succeeded in the tripod selection - a
Manfrotto carbon fiber 444 tripod that gives me sturdy support for
general photography, light weight for travel and enough collapsibility
that I can get it into my checked luggage for travel.

I missed on the head however. I bought the medium side Gitzo offset
ball head G1276M with quick release clamp. I use my tripod with
everything from a P&S to a Nikon F5 with 80-200mm f2.8 AFS zoom lens.
IMO, and contrary to the ratings, the medium Gitzo ball is not sturdy
enough for anything above a 2-3 kilogram or so. I think the problem is
the ball size, just not enough surface area to provide a rigid
clamping surface. I really like the convenience of the head and the
offset design is just what I needed to keep the overall size within
the dimensions of the checked luggage. The QR head is also extremely
convenient for swapping cameras, both my wife and I use it - sometimes
alternating shots. The large gripping surface on the locking knob is
also nice, especially when using gloves. I like everything about it
except when loaded with heavy camera, one that is within the head's
rating.

Sorry for the long commentary, the point is I don't think you can over
emphasize the importance of the head. I also like the quick release
features. I'm currently looking at a small Kirk head as a replacement.

I also use a Manfrotto table top tripod for a lot of my travel. It is
an amazingly capable tripod. My use is so diverse that trying to solve
all this with a single tripod is leading to multiple compromises that
is resulting is bad selections.

Solve the most frequent/important usage completely and first. It may
be more expensive than you thought. But if done right, well worth the
expense because it will work.

Regards,
Roger
November 26, 2012 8:44:20 AM

Best Tripod Manufacturers

Gitzo (France)
Manfrotto (Italy)
Slik (Japan)
Velbon (Japan)
Dolica
Ravelli
Joby
Opteka
Pedco
Fancierstudio
Sunpak (Japan)
Targus (USA)
Tiffen (USA)

Worst Tripod Manufacturers

Tanner (N/A) Cheapo (Don't Buy it)


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