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Thread: Cheap tripod?

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    Question Cheap tripod?

    Hi,

    I have a Sony a58 with SAL 16-50, so we're talking about 1.1-1.2 Kg. I was using it with the tripod that came for free with it, a probably very cheap Digieye TR-01. It was actually OK but after one year the screw threads to tighten the head are dead. Unless I manage to find a spare handle, or at least a screw of the same size, I have to buy a new one.
    I read the basic guidelines on selection of tripod and a few similar topics but most people are considering tripods much more expensive than what I'm willing to pay for the moment (even when I look at 2nd hand classifieds).
    I'm looking for something very basic, basically the same as what I had before but a bit more durable. For instance the Aria 722 that I saw in shop looked OK to me, but I'm afraid the screw in the handle will be as bad as my current one. There's a groupon deal on a Samurai Pro 888 currently (which I strongly doubt is worth 94$), I'm wondering whether anyone has an opinion on this. For the same price, which one would you rather go for? Any better suggestion in a similar price range? The Samurai is rated for heavier gear but is heavier too.

    Thanks in advance

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Spend a decent amount of money for a sturdy tripod and head. And you will not need to keep buying a new one every year.

    All the tripods you mentioned are junk i will never consider using. You really get what you pay for.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Well tripod like a camera is personal choice and whatever suits your needs should work fine as long as you are ok with performance. I use a heavy Benro Aluminium tripod as I like the sturdy base it provides for my camera for long exposures and time lapse shots.

    If you budget is below $100. Consider the following brands
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=914416 - Benro tripods
    http://www.tkfoto.com.sg/index.php?o...115&Itemid=290 - Sirui tripods

    Both are pretty good quality and should serve you well.

    I am assuming you are not looking for carbon fiber expensive tripods which are good for carrying around.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    I've been using Sirui since 2010 and till now it doesn't failed me for the price of $175.00. So it does pay if you willing to spend bit more on tripod and it shall shine on you when you need it

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    A tripod is meant to support your camera set. If it's not sturdy enough, you get poor image; what are you going to do next - blame it on the camera or tripod or your skill. A good tripod will last many, many good years. I had a manfrotto which I got more than 10 years ago and still working well. You get a good tripod now not just for the a58, unless you're planning to change when you upgrade your camera... Our suggestion is to go for a decent sturdy set now.

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    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    My advise is the same as the rest of the bros that spoke here. get a good tripod or don't get one at all.

    I have witness first hand how a tripod gave way and the poor fellas thousands of dollars camera + lens + flash went tumbling down into water some twenty - thirty feet downhill. It was not a pretty sight when the camera was finally being fished out and I can assure you that the repair cost might be a couple of your cheap tripods added together multiply by tens... in another word... that camera is totaled.

    So... if you are not ready to spend a reasonable amount of money on a decent tripod, you might as well don't spent that money at all... wait till you have saved up enough, then buy a good ones. Like what others had mentioned... Sirui and Benro all made excellent and reasonably priced tripod, you would not go wrong with that.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Thank you all for your prompt answers.

    I'm not too worried about sturdiness: what I had previously was fine and I don't think I can really get worse.
    Indeed, carbon fiber tripods are nice, but definitely out of what I consider reasonable for my limited usage.
    The T-005 from Sirui seems nice with a long warranty and a good price at TK Photo (thanks for the link). It's still much more than I was planning to pay for something I only use a few times a year (and probably less if it weights twice as much as my current one). Although it will probably have at least a small resale value, unlike a crappy one.
    I'll see if a 2nd-hand tripod in this range appears in the next few days, otherwise I'll go pay a visit to Funan this weekend.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    It's still much more than I was planning to pay for something I only use a few times a year (and probably less if it weights twice as much as my current one). Although it will probably have at least a small resale value, unlike a crappy one.
    It doesn't matter for the price how often you use it. What matters is that it doesn't fail when you need it.
    For the weight, check for the Optech straps (and others, similar ones). They have an elastic part on the shoulder padding, making use of the same physics that kangaroos use to make their jumps and as result the weight is felt much lesser.
    Secondly, some features coming with a proper tripod might turn out to be pretty handy. The moment you learn about it you will find a situation to use it.
    EOS

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    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    Thank you all for your prompt answers.

    I'm not too worried about sturdiness: what I had previously was fine and I don't think I can really get worse.
    Indeed, carbon fiber tripods are nice, but definitely out of what I consider reasonable for my limited usage.
    The T-005 from Sirui seems nice with a long warranty and a good price at TK Photo (thanks for the link). It's still much more than I was planning to pay for something I only use a few times a year (and probably less if it weights twice as much as my current one). Although it will probably have at least a small resale value, unlike a crappy one.
    I'll see if a 2nd-hand tripod in this range appears in the next few days, otherwise I'll go pay a visit to Funan this weekend.
    Well... all I could say is... it is your camera, your equipment, your choice. Go ahead and get the 'affordable' ones since you are going to use one or twice.

    And in actual fact, you are the first person I met to have mentioned that you are not too worried about sturdiness of your tripod. Sorry... by sturdiness, we don't just mean, the tripod will fail immediately when you load your camera... the example I gave you... well, that fella was actually happily shooting for a good half an hour before the tripod finally gave way.

    Anyway, it might or might not happen to you... my point is... if it happen, you will wish that you have save up more for a better tripod (I know I will), and even if my tripod cost me close to a thousand dollar, it is still significantly cheaper than my camera. Then again... it is your equipment, you have the right to make your own decision.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    Thank you all for your prompt answers.

    I'm not too worried about sturdiness: what I had previously was fine and I don't think I can really get worse.
    Indeed, carbon fiber tripods are nice, but definitely out of what I consider reasonable for my limited usage.
    The T-005 from Sirui seems nice with a long warranty and a good price at TK Photo (thanks for the link). It's still much more than I was planning to pay for something I only use a few times a year (and probably less if it weights twice as much as my current one). Although it will probably have at least a small resale value, unlike a crappy one.
    I'll see if a 2nd-hand tripod in this range appears in the next few days, otherwise I'll go pay a visit to Funan this weekend.
    You purchase an "affordable" tripod for <$100. You use it at most 4 times a year. And one day while mounting your camera, the tripod leg breaks, causing ur equipment to fall. What's the damage? You are putting on a risk to your camera and as well as your health (oh well if ur camera drops I'm pretty sure your heartbeat gonna speed up and ur depression getting more serious by then).

    So getting a $<100 vs $100-$170 tripod.... it's your call then. And it's not what that expenses paid for your hobby. It's the investment that pays for your hobby.
    Last edited by lewissac; 6th May 2014 at 07:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    Thank you all for your prompt answers.

    I'm not too worried about sturdiness: what I had previously was fine and I don't think I can really get worse.
    Indeed, carbon fiber tripods are nice, but definitely out of what I consider reasonable for my limited usage.
    The T-005 from Sirui seems nice with a long warranty and a good price at TK Photo (thanks for the link). It's still much more than I was planning to pay for something I only use a few times a year (and probably less if it weights twice as much as my current one). Although it will probably have at least a small resale value, unlike a crappy one.
    I'll see if a 2nd-hand tripod in this range appears in the next few days, otherwise I'll go pay a visit to Funan this weekend.
    005 is only good enough for small mirrorless cams. for something more substantial like your a58. Go for the aluminum T-1004x at least. It only cost $110 for the legs, or $179 for both the legs and a ballhead.

    Don't be penny wise pound foolish.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    005 is only good enough for small mirrorless cams.
    Seriously ? Why is it rated to 4Kg then, what figure should I look for? I thought that was already a serious step-up (it says "small DSLRs")...
    Last edited by Romain; 6th May 2014 at 08:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    Seriously ? Why is it rated to 4Kg then, what figure should I look for? I thought that was already a serious step-up (it says "small DSLRs")...
    Do note that when a tripod stated it can load 4kg of weight, you need to include the weight of your ballhead too. Next when calculating the maximum loading of your ballhead, do take into consideration of tilted angle. I normally multiply the weight of my camera+lens+other accessories by a factor of 3. So if my camera+lens+other accessories is 1.5kg maximum, the ballhead should be able to withstand 4.5kg (1.5x3) of load.

    In short, when looking for a tripod there are a couple of aspects of the tripod to look at,

    1) The maximum loading of the tripod body.
    2) The maximum loading of the tripod head.
    3) Maximum height of the tripod (without extension of the center column) because frankly speaking, most people will extend their tripod only to this level most of the time. I would not extend my center column unless absolutely necessary because somehow I find it not as stable.
    4) Minimal height the tripod can go to.
    5) How small can the tripod keep.
    6) Weight of the tripod (quite important here - for me at least).

    Alot of people looked at the tripod body and forget about the head. The head is one of the most important aspects around too.
    Last edited by rhino123; 6th May 2014 at 08:49 AM.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Get at least a Sirui.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by edutilos- View Post
    Get at least a Sirui.
    Actually my first tripod is a Digieye Pro 688 which I got for S$50 from one of the bro in CS a couple of years ago. It is bloody heavy, but very stable. My bro brought it to Vietnam and it served him well. My point is... you don't really need Sirui, some of the other brands are actually pretty good.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    Seriously ? Why is it rated to 4Kg then, what figure should I look for? I thought that was already a serious step-up (it says "small DSLRs")...
    I own the 025, which is the carbon fiber version of the 005. And I can tell you it is NOT stable enough for a DSLR.

    Rating is subjective.
    I have used a 30kg rated Sirui ballhead and a 8kg rated RRS Ballhead. The RRS is much stronger than the Sirui in any situation.
    I have used a 30kg rated Benro tripod and a 8kg rated Manfrotto tripod. The Manfrotto tripod can hold much more and is much more stable.

    Read ratings with a pinch of salt. It all depends on the perspective they base their ratings on.

    This is how RRS talk about their weight load ratings:

    And a note about load capacity...
    We rate the load capacity of our BH-40 ballhead very conservatively at just 18 pounds. Why do we do this when competitors' ballheads in this same class are rated for greater load capacities? We feel that a better guide for choosing a ballhead is to consider how well the ballhead operates while it's loaded with gear. For example, we routinely recommend our BH-40 as the ballhead of choice for lenses like 70-200mm/f2.8 zooms and 300mm/f4 primes. Does that mean the BH-40 can't handle a 300mm/f2.8 lens? Of course not! Our BH-40 ballhead is robust enough for occasional use with even a 500mm/f4 lens. But if you primarily use a 300mm/f2.8 lens (and bigger) for your tripod work, we guarantee you'll be happier with our BH-55 full-size ballhead. Bigger loads simply handle better on a bigger ball, period. So when you're trying to decide which ballhead is going to be best for you, consider that load capacity is only one of many features to consider.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 6th May 2014 at 09:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino123 View Post
    Do note that when a tripod stated it can load 4kg of weight, you need to include the weight of your ballhead too. Next when calculating the maximum loading of your ballhead, do take into consideration of tilted angle. I normally multiply the weight of my camera+lens+other accessories by a factor of 3. So if my camera+lens+other accessories is 1.5kg maximum, the ballhead should be able to withstand 4.5kg (1.5x3) of load.
    Thanks, it looks like I should avoid the basic Benros then (2 Kg load).
    If I take 1.4Kg for camera (<600g) + lens (<600g) + ballhead (200g), I'm not far from this ratio of 3 for the T-005 (4 Kg).
    It comes with the C-10 ballhead which apparently holds 15 Kg, so on that side I hope it's fine. As you said, I barely ever extend the centre column. The T-1004X seems much stronger but if I keep increasing the budget I'll get close to the price of a backup camera...
    I'll see how the different models feel like if I go to a shop this week-end.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    I own the 025, which is the carbon fiber version of the 005. And I can tell you it is NOT stable enough for a DSLR.
    OK so if the ratings aren't normalised, how do I test a tripod? I put the camera with lens on it at it's tele end and then what do I do to know it it's stable enough? If it takes a good (long exposure) picture even with the ballhead tilted, is that considered stable, or do I need to do something more?

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    Thanks, it looks like I should avoid the basic Benros then (2 Kg load).
    If I take 1.4Kg for camera (<600g) + lens (<600g) + ballhead (200g), I'm not far from this ratio of 3 for the T-005 (4 Kg).
    It comes with the C-10 ballhead which apparently holds 15 Kg, so on that side I hope it's fine. As you said, I barely ever extend the centre column. The T-1004X seems much stronger but if I keep increasing the budget I'll get close to the price of a backup camera...
    I'll see how the different models feel like if I go to a shop this week-end.
    Well, the 005 and 025's designs are that the center column is permanently extended. You cannot lower it.

    How much more is the T1004x? only $179 for tripod and ballhead. Just eat simple for a few meals and hold back on a couple of movies and you can already make back on the difference.

    There is a lot more to stability than weight ratings. The structure and materials also will affect rigidity and vibration damping.

    In the end, most people do not realize that the stability of a tripod can affect your shots a great deal sometimes. If planted on a solid platform with no wind or other disturbance, usually every tripod will work ok. The challenge comes when you are working in strong winds, uneven ground,, in water, unstable ground, long focal lengths etc, everything will come into play. And by saving that extra $100, you might lose a shot you wanted when you are on a $2000 trip. Or worse still, it might topple over or collapse with your $1000-2000 camera and lens.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 6th May 2014 at 09:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Cheap tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romain View Post
    OK so if the ratings aren't normalised, how do I test a tripod? I put the camera with lens on it at it's tele end and then what do I do to know it it's stable enough? If it takes a good (long exposure) picture even with the ballhead tilted, is that considered stable, or do I need to do something more?
    The best way is to go to the shop with your heaviest setup and load it up on the tripod. Nudge it from the sides (front, back, sides) to simulate strong winds. If it feels stable enough, then the legs is OK.

    As for ballhead, I think even the most basic Sirui G10 or G20 will meet your needs. But when you go for heavier lens like 70-200 (1.5kg) in the future, the ballhead may creep.
    Too many great equipments but too little quality photos. [My Flickr] | [My Blog]

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