Help needed: I need a lightweight but very stable tripod for Northern Lights


petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#1
Hi friends
I am planning to see the Northern Lights in Iceland later this year, and would appreciate some tips and info..

First of all, can anyone recommended a super light tripod, that I will be using for a B-mode long exposure shot of the lights, that won't move much but is very very lightweight?

Budget under $300.

The same tripod will then be used to mount my microphone back home for sound calibrations for my other hobby..

Also, any tips on long exposures will be much appreciated.

Lastly, if anyone has tips on places in Iceland to take the best shot, please post them too.

Thank you
 

Mar 30, 2013
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#2
You can try heading to TK foto or some photo shops in Funan to personally try out their tripod and see if they can take your gear. Gitzo/manfrotto/sirui are all very good tripods.

As for tips, just try not to knock onto your tripod else all your previous effort may be in vain. And try to compose your pic before you start the long exposure shot, cos there are times where after I took a shot I realize there's a better composition/angle and I restarted the process again. Personally a newbie so not much tips to give you. Hope you enjoy your trip!
 

richiemccaw1

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2013
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#3
Do consider the Sirui tripods either at BnS here or at tk. They are very good value for money.

The tripods which have 4 segments would be sturdier than those that have 5, ie the xxx5 models.

Got a Sirui brand new from tk bout three months ago and it's been great for me so far.
 

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#4
Thanks, what is the price range like for these tripods?

Also, I haven't bought tripods second hand before, any risks or perhaps a link to a suitable model at B & S?

Cheers

Edit:
Found the price range from TK:
http://www.tkfoto.com.sg/index.php?...ticle&id=267:sirui-price&catid=115&Itemid=290

They don't look too sturdy or am I wrong?
 

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JacePhoto

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Oct 1, 2007
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#5
Buy a good model but second hand.


I went to Alaska at -20 w Gitzo. Worked well. Many other tripods couldn't work. You don't want to risk that.
 

Mar 30, 2013
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#6
Thanks, what is the price range like for these tripods?

Also, I haven't bought tripods second hand before, any risks or perhaps a link to a suitable model at B & S?

Cheers

Edit:
Found the price range from TK:
http://www.tkfoto.com.sg/index.php?...ticle&id=267:sirui-price&catid=115&Itemid=290

They don't look too sturdy or am I wrong?
I'm really not sure of the higher end models but I have a T1004x and it gets the job done. Maybe not that stable as you would expect it to be for shooting northern lights. Maybe you can try the Carbon Fibre Traveller series, such as the T-2204x. It can hold 15KG on the website.


Buy a good model but second hand.


I went to Alaska at -20 w Gitzo. Worked well. Many other tripods couldn't work. You don't want to risk that.
Yeah second hand is another alternative but be sure to make sure the tripods are really stable and the working condition is not affected by previous usage.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
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#7
Erm, you don't need a very long exposure for northern lights. Maybe for star trails, but you SHOULD be aiming to keep your exposure timings relatively short, not in the span of a few minutes or even hours. Below 1 minute, anything above a Sirui will do very well.

Maybe you can read up a little on aurora photography before thinking about what you need? There is a good article here: http://www.dennismammana.com/skyinfo/phototips/skyphoto_aurora.htm
 

thoongeng

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
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#8
Thanks, what is the price range like for these tripods?

Also, I haven't bought tripods second hand before, any risks or perhaps a link to a suitable model at B & S?

Cheers

Edit:
Found the price range from TK:
http://www.tkfoto.com.sg/index.php?...ticle&id=267:sirui-price&catid=115&Itemid=290

They don't look too sturdy or am I wrong?
Unfortunately your requirements of being very light means it you need carbon fiber which means it won't be cheap (though you didn't specify what's very light which is very subjective) eg a Gitzo traveller 0 series + Arca Swiss carbon fiber ballhead would set you back more than $1000

If you have to keep within your budget then do go down to TK Foto to try out the Sirui tripods, I have used the 5 section aluminium Sirui T1005 to take photos of the Northern Lights and they looked ok for me; though since you have spent so much to go there might as well get something better, I bought mine for some time already so just brought it along for the trip.

You can check out some advice I got and my humble shots from my previous thread: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1239618
 

richiemccaw1

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2013
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#9
TS - actually what kind of kit are you using? Dont think you have mentioned. That would really help us in helping you too :)
 

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#10
Thanks for the replies, it's in my sig:

I am a single lens person, more keen on "the moment" shot than carrying a lot. So I use a D90 with a 18-200mm, and maybe a Nikon V1 for my GF.

I have walked up the Nepalese mountains with my backpack and it was more 'shiong' than my old active days in Guards. So within reason and budget, light and durable will be nice. Too heavy and it will be pointless.
I should share that I have a big old SLIK that weights 3kg and a freebie Olympus tripod, and I hardly or never carry a tripod for my trips, so a plan B will be a bean bag on my rental car..
I like to do the "commando" thing, not the "guards" thing, i.e. travel light, carry less and not bring a big bazooka :)
 

Mar 30, 2013
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#11
Hehe then actually any carbon tripod would suffice (since you like carry light). Hang your bag at the bottom of your center column for extra stability and use a wired remote (so you don't have to press the shutter button).

Oh and bring a flashlight in case it's too dark to see anything at all.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#13
Last edited:

rhino123

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Sep 1, 2006
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#14

petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#15
Since you already bought it, why are you still asking for updates? If we say it is no good, are you going to return it?
Do you have any trouble understanding my post?
did I ask for an update ?
 

daredevil123

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Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#16
Since you already bought it, why are you still asking for updates? If we say it is no good, are you going to return it?
And a lot more expensive than the Sirui T1004x + G10x combo (SGD$179) too... MeFoto one is US$189...

And warranty on the MeFoto is useless, because TS needs to claim it in the USA because he bought it there. Sirui comes with 6 years warranty, just have to walk into TK store in Funan. And contrary to popular belief, tripods do break down (more than cameras), needing replacement parts like brackets etc...

And of course MeFoto is readily available here in SG and MY and is much cheaper too.

Kind of funny, when people say one thing then do the complete opposite.

Anyway, good luck TS on the new tripod and hope you enjoy it.
 

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petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#17
Mefoto is available locally?
i didn't have time to visit TK photo anyway, so this was a simple purchase with a few clicks of the keyboard.
Will take note of the sirui cheers.
You could have bought in SG, cheaper too. Sirui is much better made than Mefoto...

Anyway,

Cheap
Light
Stable
- Choose 2.
 

daredevil123

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Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#18
Mefoto is available locally?
i didn't have time to visit TK photo anyway, so this was a simple purchase with a few clicks of the keyboard.
Will take note of the sirui cheers.
Yup. http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1209130
don't feel too bad. Buy already just use. After all, you only lugi a little bit (<$100)
Next time learn to click a little more around...
 

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petetherock

Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
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#19