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Thread: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

  1. #1
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    Default Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    I've been delaying the purchase of a good tripod for some time now and have been relying on a rather inexpensive one for all my past shooting. Unfortunately with bigger lenses in my bag the tripod can no longer cope.

    Initially it managed fine because all I had was a PowerShot A40. Nowadays I can see that the three-way head seems to 'give' a little everytime I mount my camera, and camera shake is still visible in my shots with longer lenses.

    I need advice from others as to what I should buy.

    So I need a new tripod, with the following being some requirements:

    - budget: hopefully less than $300 with a ball head (tension control not really necessary) and quick release plate
    - needs to be extendable to around 170cm or so, preferably without extending the central column, or with minimal extension
    - has a hook on the bottom of the central column to attach a bag for added stability
    - reasonably lightweight but stable (need it to pack well into a suitcase and not make it too much heavier during travel)
    - can cope with weights of up to 4kg or so (I intend to use this for a camera body plus a lens of focal length 300mm to 400mm, but nothing heavier than a Sigma 50-500mm)
    - has rubber feet on each leg capable of adjusting to uneven terrain
    - needs to double up easily as a monopod so I can shoot easily in the crowds at the zoo

    Well, I might have missed out something...please advise. Thanks.
    Last edited by fWord; 13th September 2006 at 10:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Currently I use a Weifeng tripod which when added with the Manfrotto 141RC 3 way pan head, reaches a height which I find comfortable. I'm 1.84 meters tall, So i guess it should suit your requirement. The tripod cost around $200 at John 3:16 I think, and the head $70-$80? But since you're looking for a ballhead, I've no recommendations for that.

    The tripod goes up to 7 or 8 KG if I remember correctly, and the head goes up to 7 kg. With the center column extended, it can very easily surpass my height. Go try it out at John 3:16 and see if it suits you. The entire setup is pretty heavy though.

    - $280
    - Can reach around 170 without head easy I think.
    - has a hook on the bottom of the central column to attach a bag for added stability
    - not lightweight at all
    - Gives me the feeling that it can cope with a 600mm f/4 if you can find a suitable head.
    - has rubber feet on each leg capable of adjusting to uneven terrain - feet easily replaced if you can find shops that sells rubber feet for stools.
    Last edited by Nerd; 13th September 2006 at 10:16 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd
    Currently I use a Weifeng tripod which when added with the Manfrotto 141RC 3 way pan head, reaches a height which I find comfortable. I'm 1.84 meters tall, So i guess it should suit your requirement. The tripod cost around $200 at John 3:16 I think, and the head $70-$80? But since you're looking for a ballhead, I've no recommendations for that.

    The tripod goes up to 7 or 8 KG if I remember correctly, and the head goes up to 7 kg. With the center column extended, it can very easily surpass my height. Go try it out at John 3:16 and see if it suits you. The entire setup is pretty heavy though.

    - $280
    - Can reach around 170 without head easy I think.
    - has a hook on the bottom of the central column to attach a bag for added stability
    - not lightweight at all
    - Gives me the feeling that it can cope with a 600mm f/4 if you can find a suitable head.
    - has rubber feet on each leg capable of adjusting to uneven terrain - feet easily replaced if you can find shops that sells rubber feet for stools.
    Thank you. I'll consider searching around for that. Though I'm not brand-conscious, Weifeng is not a brand I've heard before. Also, I don't mind buying second hand from TCW and the like.

    Actually I just remembered that I want the tripod to easily double up as a monopod as well, so I'll change the first post to reflect that. A lightweight one is definitely good since I would want to take it along for travel as well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    I've been delaying the purchase of a good tripod for some time now and have been relying on a rather inexpensive one for all my past shooting. Unfortunately with bigger lenses in my bag the tripod can no longer cope.

    Initially it managed fine because all I had was a PowerShot A40. Nowadays I can see that the three-way head seems to 'give' a little everytime I mount my camera, and camera shake is still visible in my shots with longer lenses.

    I need advice from others as to what I should buy.

    So I need a new tripod, with the following being some requirements:

    - budget: hopefully less than $300 with a ball head (tension control not really necessary) and quick release plate
    - needs to be extendable to around 170cm or so, preferably without extending the central column, or with minimal extension
    - has a hook on the bottom of the central column to attach a bag for added stability
    - reasonably lightweight but stable (need it to pack well into a suitcase and not make it too much heavier during travel)
    - can cope with weights of up to 4kg or so (I intend to use this for a camera body plus a lens of focal length 300mm to 400mm, but nothing heavier than a Sigma 50-500mm)
    - has rubber feet on each leg capable of adjusting to uneven terrain
    - needs to double up easily as a monopod so I can shoot easily in the crowds at the zoo

    Well, I might have missed out something...please advise. Thanks.
    Go to TCW and ask to take a look at Benro carbon fibre tripods. They will probably be slightly over your $300 budget but should be worth it.

    http://www.benro.cn

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon
    Go to TCW and ask to take a look at Benro carbon fibre tripods. They will probably be slightly over your $300 budget but should be worth it.

    http://www.benro.cn
    Thanks. I've come to know Jack through recent trades with him and he deals with Benro tripods on these forums. They are attractive options though a little over my budget. The ones that extend to around my height become exponentially more expensive as well.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    If buy new, $300 not enough for anything decent (eg Slik, Manfrotto). 2nd hand maybe still can, depending on condition.

    However, $300 not enough to get anything lightweight (which by definition for such a tall tripod means carbon fibre). Of course, if you have muscles like Arnold, anything is lightweight.

    Tripods do not double up as monopod. Not well, and not easily.


    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    So I need a new tripod, with the following being some requirements:

    - budget: hopefully less than $300 with a ball head (tension control not really necessary) and quick release plate
    - needs to be extendable to around 170cm or so, preferably without extending the central column, or with minimal extension
    - has a hook on the bottom of the central column to attach a bag for added stability
    - reasonably lightweight but stable (need it to pack well into a suitcase and not make it too much heavier during travel)
    - can cope with weights of up to 4kg or so (I intend to use this for a camera body plus a lens of focal length 300mm to 400mm, but nothing heavier than a Sigma 50-500mm)
    - has rubber feet on each leg capable of adjusting to uneven terrain
    - needs to double up easily as a monopod so I can shoot easily in the crowds at the zoo

    Well, I might have missed out something...please advise. Thanks.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    think that just add my 2cents worth... it's kinda "impossible" to get something that's
    1) light
    2) support a lot of weight
    3) cheap
    4) can double up as a monopod

    You have to ask yourself which of these 4 "needs" are most pertinent to you and then make the "best" decision based on that. The fact that you are tall makes the whole process that much more challenging... (still love my height when it comes to trench digging!)

    Since you already have a smaller tripod which you claim can support lower weights, maybe you might wanna invest in a slightly "bigger and heavier" tripod so that it will allow you to mount heavier lenses, in the mean time, can use your smaller tripod for travel purposes.

    Good luck finding your dream tripod!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    If buy new, $300 not enough for anything decent (eg Slik, Manfrotto). 2nd hand maybe still can, depending on condition.

    However, $300 not enough to get anything lightweight (which by definition for such a tall tripod means carbon fibre). Of course, if you have muscles like Arnold, anything is lightweight.

    Tripods do not double up as monopod. Not well, and not easily.
    Thanks...I'd definitely consider second-hand.

    Perhaps when I talked about lightweight I wasn't specific enough. I don't need something as light as a carbon fibre. Rather, if it doesn't weigh in at over 4-5 kilos or so it will probably be quite easily to stuff in in a check-in luggage and not go over the limit for flying on the plane.
    Last edited by fWord; 13th September 2006 at 05:55 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by londonray
    think that just add my 2cents worth... it's kinda "impossible" to get something that's
    1) light
    2) support a lot of weight
    3) cheap
    4) can double up as a monopod

    You have to ask yourself which of these 4 "needs" are most pertinent to you and then make the "best" decision based on that. The fact that you are tall makes the whole process that much more challenging... (still love my height when it comes to trench digging!)

    Since you already have a smaller tripod which you claim can support lower weights, maybe you might wanna invest in a slightly "bigger and heavier" tripod so that it will allow you to mount heavier lenses, in the mean time, can use your smaller tripod for travel purposes.

    Good luck finding your dream tripod!
    Heheh...you can say the thing about trench digging again! There was a friend in my section who was a proverbial giant and we had to dig to his height. The guy felt so sorry he wanted to disappear, but we had great fun doing that. I'm pretty short at less than 170cm, but don't want to use a tripod shorter than myself. Recently I attempted night shots, aiming the lens almost vertically upwards to capture a different perspective, and it was backbreaking work trying to bend halfway and look up into the viewfinder.

    Yes, I figured that a tripod probably would not be a good monopod, though it might suffice. Someone showed me a tripod before that had a central column that could be extended downwards to make a monopod...something by Akarui and supposedly cost less than $100 at K-13. But I went there recently and didn't see it.

    The reason why I want something like that is because I am considering getting a long lens that doesn't have IS for wildlife photography. In the zoo it is cumbersome to setup a tripod and a monopod would really be of use here. However when night falls and I want to use the same lens to say, shoot compressed landscape night shots in the city, I'd need a tripod that is sturdy enough to mount the lens for a long exposure. It's tough I guess, when a person wants to do everything.

    I don't really need something that is featherweight, but it should not be so heavy as to affect what else I can pack for a trip overseas...

    *sigh* I was hoping a $300 budget would be enough...wonder where else I can turn to.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    Heheh...you can say the thing about trench digging again! There was a friend in my section who was a proverbial giant and we had to dig to his height. The guy felt so sorry he wanted to disappear, but we had great fun doing that. I'm pretty short at less than 170cm, but don't want to use a tripod shorter than myself. Recently I attempted night shots, aiming the lens almost vertically upwards to capture a different perspective, and it was backbreaking work trying to bend halfway and look up into the viewfinder.
    Just a little OT.. Get a 90 degree finder. It's much easier. If you're using Canon, they have one for about $250.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    erm... 170cm without extending the center column means that the tripod gonna be big... size of manfrotto 055 perhaps... but you wanted a light weight one, which mean only carbon fibre might fit in, but again ur budget is below $300 which is quite impossible to get a medium-big size CF tripod + ballhead. so my advise is to trade-off one of ur requirement.
    anyway do consider manfrotto 190Prob + 486RC2... new should cost aroud $320.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    Thanks...I'd definitely consider second-hand.

    Perhaps when I talked about lightweight I wasn't specific enough. I don't need something as light as a carbon fibre. Rather, if it doesn't weigh in at over 4-5 kilos or so it will probably be quite easily to stuff in in a check-in luggage and not go over the limit for flying on the plane.
    eh actually a 4-5kg tripod is consider v. v. heavy to me liao... my 330dx is barely 2kg with the default pan-tilt (pretty stable pan-tilt )

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ
    eh actually a 4-5kg tripod is consider v. v. heavy to me liao... my 330dx is barely 2kg with the default pan-tilt (pretty stable pan-tilt )
    Thanks for the recommendation. I shall think and look up more on the Manfrotto that you suggested. If I were to stick to my requirements, how much more do I need to put into my current budget?

    It's a big ask for a tripod that goes to my height without extending the center column, though it seems to be the recommendation of some books that I read. Not sure how it really applies in reality though, so I need advice on that. Perhaps I just need a deeper pocket.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    Thanks for the recommendation. I shall think and look up more on the Manfrotto that you suggested. If I were to stick to my requirements, how much more do I need to put into my current budget?

    It's a big ask for a tripod that goes to my height without extending the center column, though it seems to be the recommendation of some books that I read. Not sure how it really applies in reality though, so I need advice on that. Perhaps I just need a deeper pocket.
    look for tripod that goes up to about 150cm if you are about 170cm. should be more than enough on most situation with v. slight bending down.

    as for budget if you wanna stick to your original requirement, it will be pretty costly unless you don mind carrying a heavy 2.5kg+ tripod around (without ballhead). else the manfrotto 190Prob + 486RC2 which i mention in the previous post should be more than enough. the set up should weight about 2.5kg including the ballhead.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon
    Just a little OT.. Get a 90 degree finder. It's much easier. If you're using Canon, they have one for about $250.
    Thanks for the suggestion. Wish I had the cash to spend on this accessory but hope I won't need it too much anyway. I don't do the wierd angle shots too often fortunately.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ
    look for tripod that goes up to about 150cm if you are about 170cm. should be more than enough on most situation with v. slight bending down.

    as for budget if you wanna stick to your original requirement, it will be pretty costly unless you don mind carrying a heavy 2.5kg+ tripod around (without ballhead). else the manfrotto 190Prob + 486RC2 which i mention in the previous post should be more than enough. the set up should weight about 2.5kg including the ballhead.
    I see...just clarified by reading another book yesterday that recommended getting a tripod that goes to around eye level at maximum extension, so I guess 150cm would be about right for me. However I should probably be looking for a tripod that doesn't have an extending central column...I don't like the instability that the fully extended central column gives to a tripod.

    The Manfrotto you suggested seems to go quite low to the ground as well and that's a good feature.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    Thanks for the recommendation. I shall think and look up more on the Manfrotto that you suggested. If I were to stick to my requirements, how much more do I need to put into my current budget?

    It's a big ask for a tripod that goes to my height without extending the center column, though it seems to be the recommendation of some books that I read. Not sure how it really applies in reality though, so I need advice on that. Perhaps I just need a deeper pocket.
    When i bought my 190Pro last time, the guy @ cathay recommended the same thing. He was saying when you extend the centre column, your camera will be prone to shake and won't be as stable. (not sure how true) So usually when i shoot, i try not to extend the centre column.

    I'm guessing he might be referring to the wind or vibrations of the ground that vibrate up the camera, causing the pic to be blurred when you take the shot.
    Last edited by dEthANGeL; 14th September 2006 at 10:04 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by dEthANGeL
    When i bought my 190Pro last time, the guy @ cathay recommended the same thing. He was saying when you extend the centre column, your camera will be prone to shake and won't be as stable. (not sure how true) So usually when i shoot, i try not to extend the centre column.

    I'm guessing he might be referring to the wind or vibrations of the ground that vibrate up the camera, causing the pic to be blurred when you take the shot.
    This is the thing I've been reading in most books. I'm trying to buy a tripod that will last me, and not a $35 tripod that I got early in my photography life. Hence I am prepared to spend a lot more, assuming I can get something to fit my needs...no way will I get a tripod that is too short for me since I already have occasional back pain from the route marches in the army.

    There are tripods on the market that don't even have a central column, and I guess if I can find one that can extend to around my eye level just with the leg extensions alone, that would be excellent.

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    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by fWord
    I see...just clarified by reading another book yesterday that recommended getting a tripod that goes to around eye level at maximum extension, so I guess 150cm would be about right for me. However I should probably be looking for a tripod that doesn't have an extending central column...I don't like the instability that the fully extended central column gives to a tripod.

    The Manfrotto you suggested seems to go quite low to the ground as well and that's a good feature.
    erm... iirc most weight hook are on the center column. if you are choosing one without it?
    anyway im pretty sure it is still very stable as long as you don extend too much. from my 330dx experience which is far lighter than manfrotto 190prob, i got no problem with stability extending the center column slightly. (roughly 10cm without adding weight since there is no hook below)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Tripod Recommendations (requirements inside)

    I'm using a PPCP tripod. Abt 1.3kg which extends to 160cm+ excluding the center column. Can take 4-5kg.

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