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Thread: Define a good tripod.

  1. #1

    Default Define a good tripod.

    Hi! i'm planning to get a tripod. however, i don't know what it takes for a tripod to be good. i don't want to spend so much money on it but at the same time i want to be sure that the tripod i get is good enough for my present and future needs. so could anyone enlighten me?

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    there is no ONE tripod that fits every use, for eg, there is studio tripod, big & sturdy (geared centre column), outdoor tripod, for macro (centre column can change angle) & lightweight. Tallest height, etc...

    You have to give us your requirement, den let us recommend you 1 thats fit for your usage.

    from the avatar, seem like a canon P&S cam... i think any cheap aluminium tripod will fit this cam... no need to buy a Gitzo CF tripod to mount this camera on...
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    Senior Member Big Kahuna's Avatar
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    To me I want something that is strong enought to support my D70 but is light enought for me to carry it around....of course material quality and price is a consideration too....otherwise it will became a white elephant at home

    I advice you to derive a budget first, mine is about 10% of my equipment price

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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    1. The tripod must be able to hold the camera that you are using (or planning to)
    2. The fully exended height must be at least your eye level (not good for your back if it is too short)
    3. The tripod must be stable when it is fully extended.
    4. The tripod must be light.
    5. The tripod must be cheap.
    6. The tripod must look good.

    As a wise man once told me "get a good tripod and you may never have to change."

  5. #5

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    IMHO, a good tripod is one that you have with you when you need it. You can have the most fancy carbon-fibre model with gold trimming and a top-of-the-line ballhead that does everything including make coffee for you while you're composing your shot, but if it's too heavy to bring with you, then it's just a lump of material in your house.

    That's why you should, as the other CS'ers on this thread have advised, look at what you need at this stage. My personal opinion is that, like camera bags, you cannot really just have one single "holy grail" tripod ... sometimes you need to mount 10kg on it, sometimes, 500g (a P&S), so you would not want to bring a monster of a tripod with you on vacation just to mount your Canon P&S.

    One tip : if you get a lightweight tripod and are afraid of wind blowing it over, take a plastic shopping bag, fill it with something heavy (eg. a few convenient rocks nearby), and hang it off the tripod, that'll really steady it for the moment you need it.

  6. #6

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    Before you buy the tripod, you may wish to read this article first: http://bythom.com/support.htm

    Ortega - Of the three factors of light, cheap and stable, you can only pick two. For example, the stable and light ones are not cheap, the cheap and stable ones are not light etc etc. If there is one that is cheap, light and stable, it would have cornered the whole market already.

  7. #7

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    I have 5 tripods. All are good!

    They are good because they do the job they are supposed to do. They are good because I chose the right tripod for the right job.

    I have a teeny weeeny one (a old Leitz table tripod) which I carry in my little bag when I walk around towns. I use it when I need the stability, so I mount my camera and push the legs sideways on walls, on chairs etc. Wonderful.

    I have a Gitzo 13 hundred series which together with my camera gear comes up to about 20 kg for my backpack when I go shooting landscape.

    But for even "bigger gear" I have Gitzo 15 hundred series which I keep at home and does not move more than 20 meters to my car. Obviously I use this because the Leitz and Gitzo 1300 cannot do its job.

    All this is not to show off how much gear I have. But to illustrate the point Del_CtrlnoAlt and ericp mentioned.

    A good tripod is one which does the job you assigned it to. Whether it is "good value for money" is another matter. I have since learnt that for my type of shooting, a good tripod is an investment that is equal in importance to the camera itself.

    Unlike others who go for the lightest tripod for travelling, I bring the heaviest I can carry. It does not make and sense if my pictures blurred after spending a considerable sum travelling to say Timbukto (a one in a life time adventure) because the tripod cannot do its job in the strong wind.

    So to answer your question, here is my question, What do you REALLY want your tripod to do? The answer may not be as straightforward as you think!

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    Member patch17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanielee
    Hi! i'm planning to get a tripod. however, i don't know what it takes for a tripod to be good. i don't want to spend so much money on it but at the same time i want to be sure that the tripod i get is good enough for my present and future needs. so could anyone enlighten me?
    what's your camera? if it's a canon ixus, judging from the looks of the pic in your profile, a slik sprint pro should do nicely. it's small, light, comes with a ball head and cost about $100. tripods can be made more stable by weighing them down with your camera bag.

    and it should see you through to the bigger and heavier prosumer digital cameras.
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    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Normal shooting days, I bring my 190DB. Though abit short (about 20cm taller without having to extend the centre column would have been great), can take my landscape gear, ie D60+grip+WA lens.

    For a trip to zoo or to shoot bird, then 055pro. Cause it takes heavier load, ie D60+grip+big mama lens+flash.

    Test the tripod if you can, secure a reflective surface standing on the tripod head, point a lasser pointer (very cheap lar) to the reflective surface. Note where the beam lands. Tap the tripod lightly. Note how long it takes the beam to settle down. Repeat this on another tripod.

    The faster the beam settle down, the Sturdier the tripod.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  10. #10

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    thank you everyone! anyway i'm now using a canon 20D... not a powershot.. so i don't think a cheap tripod would do.

    well i'll be studying abroad for the next 2 years and i would love to take nights shots eg. the christmas lights at orchard.. ermmm tripod of average weight would do i think?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Virgo's Avatar
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    Totally agree. It depends on what you're going to mount on it. Let us know your gear and I'm sure we'll be able to find a suitable tripod for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt
    there is no ONE tripod that fits every use, for eg, there is studio tripod, big & sturdy (geared centre column), outdoor tripod, for macro (centre column can change angle) & lightweight. Tallest height, etc...

    You have to give us your requirement, den let us recommend you 1 thats fit for your usage.

    from the avatar, seem like a canon P&S cam... i think any cheap aluminium tripod will fit this cam... no need to buy a Gitzo CF tripod to mount this camera on...
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    have to know the lens you use as well to recommend a head for the tripod, den your height, so to estimate your tripod tallest height, den your endurance level of bringing a heavy tripod, also, your budget...
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  13. #13

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    Heard of that wisdom too...but this is what I had went through...

    Had a prosumer cam earlier...remembered the wise words and asked the nice guy at Cathay Photo which tripod can last me a life time, even if I upgrade to a DSLR. Of course, the usual Gitzo, Manfrotto and Sliks came out. My little camera looks PATHETIC on that giant sticks. So ended up with a wimpy sprint pro. I just couldn't imagine myself whipping out a pro tripod and put a tiny cam on it.

    Then I upgraded to a D70 and got into landscape photography. I vowed not to make the same mistake twice and got a Slik Pro with Pan & Tilt head. Promised my wife that'll be the last tripod I'll ever need.

    It was great taking landscapes...but then, I decided to give Macro photography a try...insects and dragonflies looks great! Then I realised that by the time I managed to get the right angle on the tripod, the insect would've flown off liao. A ball head must be the solution. Off to Cathay again for a new Gitzo ballhead. Of course, wifey didn't know about that...

    Boy was I amazed with the flexibility of the ballhead...any angle also no problem. But had a lot of fun adjusting it. Need a bit more angle....unscrew, shift and tighten again. Oops..nope...a bit more...unscrew, shift and tighten again.

    Finally, ended up with the Manfrotto grip head that I'm using now.

    Lesson is...what the wise men said is correct...get the best and it can last a lifetime. Caveat is...don't change your equipment or type of photography




    Quote Originally Posted by ortega
    1. The tripod must be able to hold the camera that you are using (or planning to)
    2. The fully exended height must be at least your eye level (not good for your back if it is too short)
    3. The tripod must be stable when it is fully extended.
    4. The tripod must be light.
    5. The tripod must be cheap.
    6. The tripod must look good.

    As a wise man once told me "get a good tripod and you may never have to change."

  14. #14

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    read this somewhere before:
    buy the most expensive tripod you can afford and the heaviest your wife/girlfriend can carry

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbocrab
    Before you buy the tripod, you may wish to read this article first: http://bythom.com/support.htm

    Ortega - Of the three factors of light, cheap and stable, you can only pick two. For example, the stable and light ones are not cheap, the cheap and stable ones are not light etc etc. If there is one that is cheap, light and stable, it would have cornered the whole market already.
    hahaah sounds familiar.. i seem to have said that in another thread sometime back :P
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Hi stephanielee,

    I only have 3 tripods now, the no 2 in picture is Manfrotto 055, if you plan to have a SLR, perhaps this is the only tripod you need to have.
    Or maybe one size smaller...

    Hope this help.


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    A good tripod is one that you will carry along whenever you shoot.

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    how abt Slik spirit pro for fz20 wif external flash? thinking of getting this
    Last edited by kababoom; 24th December 2004 at 08:06 PM.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotSpots
    Lesson is...what the wise men said is correct...get the best and it can last a lifetime. Caveat is...don't change your equipment or type of photography
    that's y i skipped all the slik pro, 190, 055 and got myself an explorer. 1 time investment rather than upgrade and upgrade again

    i'm still saving up for a good ballhead, most likely getting M10 or AS

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    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    Hi stephanielee,

    I only have 3 tripods now, the no 2 in picture is Manfrotto 055, if you plan to have a SLR, perhaps this is the only tripod you need to have.
    Or maybe one size smaller...

    Hope this help.

    What is tripod no. 3, looks much bigger then 055, & I thought 055 is big. What its loading capacity?
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

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