Outdoor shooting with tripod


Aug 2, 2010
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#1
As the title goes, i shoot mostly outdoors relying on a tripod for various reasons. I recently sold off my vanguard set up that is about 2.3kg+/-. Its heavy to lug it around considering the entire load to be around 5kg+ including body and lenses. Though heavy, the tripod is quite stable even under windy conditions.

Im at a dilema if I should invest on a cf tripod that can hold the same load but weighs lesser. I am not sure it will be as stable under windy conditions as the regular aluminum kinds that are slightly heavier.
 

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JacePhoto

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Oct 1, 2007
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#2
I never believed in tripods or investing in a good one until recently. It took 3 years of nagging from my technical advisor and a leap of faith. I now use Gitzo big tripod ( i am not inclined technically) and i feel it weights lesser than an aluminium one.

Its sturdy even given in wind conditions.

I wish i had started/ investing in a good cf tripod earlier. Hope this helps.
 

Edwin Francis

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Mar 24, 2006
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#3
Im at a dilema if I should invest on a cf tripod that can hold the same load but weighs lesser. I am not sure it will be as stable under windy conditions as the regular aluminum kinds that are slightly heavier.
2.3kg doesn't sound particularly heavy, but I do try to cut my load whenever I can too!

If you're concerned a light tripod will wobble in windy conditions, consider using something to weigh it down (your camera bag and gear inside is normally handy). I believe some tripods have a hook at the bottom of the centre column for this. It's important that the bag is not suspended completely off the ground - its swaying is detrimental to your shot. Keep the bag on the ground, with part of its weight suspended from the tripod.
 

ExplorerZ

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Jan 9, 2006
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#4
seriously, i think most ppl who get a heavy tripod just to counter stability problem during windy days kind of never encounter these situation much.
so far i never encounter any problem with wind in Singaporewith my slik 330dx with ballhead weight ard 1.6kg?
in fact most of my shaky photo problem when using the tripod comes from sea waves washing off the sand that i have set my tripod on
and like what edwin have said, its much preferable to hook ur bag on the tripod center column hood as and when needed rather than to get a heavy tripod.
 

Aug 2, 2010
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#6
Thanks for the tips bros to use the bag for added weight.

I'll get the CF manfrotto x series or maybe the vanguard alta pro. Now shortlisting the models. :)
 

nabelrock

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Jun 4, 2010
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#7
guys, with regards to hanging your bag in the tripod's center hook, you should still consider your bag's weight + cam setup weight vs the max load capacity of your tripod, does this make sense?
 

catchlights

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#8
guys, with regards to hanging your bag in the tripod's center hook, you should still consider your bag's weight + cam setup weight vs the max load capacity of your tripod, does this make sense?
hanging weight on the tripod is to lower the center of gravity of the tripod set up.
 

Jul 16, 2010
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#9
My tripod is quite heavy I feel too. Trying to find a CF tripod that is light and easy to set up, not like my current one which uses screw knobs. I think it's worth getting a CF as Singapore don't really have strong wind until the tripod will shake unless you go overseas real frequently.
 

asterixsg

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May 22, 2006
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#10
Hi,

Good thing I saw this thread as I was about to start a new thread on this topic. I've owned different tripods from Slik to Manfrotto to Benro to Sirui (can't get around to splurging on a Gitzo) and finally settled on the last two (Benro C-series and Sirui - the travel tripod mentioned in anther post). Both work fine in normal conditions. But in strong winds when shooting on top of volcanoes in Indonesia, I've had to give up shooting because neither of these tripods are stable enough. The Sirui almost flew off :bsmilie:

Would be eager to see recommendations to get around this problem.

Cheers...

I never believed in tripods or investing in a good one until recently. It took 3 years of nagging from my technical advisor and a leap of faith. I now use Gitzo big tripod ( i am not inclined technically) and i feel it weights lesser than an aluminium one.

Its sturdy even given in wind conditions.

I wish i had started/ investing in a good cf tripod earlier. Hope this helps.
Hi, do you mind sharing which Gitzo model did you purchase ? Thanks.

2.3kg doesn't sound particularly heavy, but I do try to cut my load whenever I can too!

If you're concerned a light tripod will wobble in windy conditions, consider using something to weigh it down (your camera bag and gear inside is normally handy). I believe some tripods have a hook at the bottom of the centre column for this. It's important that the bag is not suspended completely off the ground - its swaying is detrimental to your shot. Keep the bag on the ground, with part of its weight suspended from the tripod.
Thanks for sharing this tip. Yeah, I learnt it with experience when the bag started to sway (in very windy conditions) and hit the legs of the tripod :sweat:

Thanks for the tips bros to use the bag for added weight.

I'll get the CF manfrotto x series or maybe the vanguard alta pro. Now shortlisting the models. :)
Please do share once you shortlist the models. Thanks.
 

Atarandas

Senior Member
Aug 19, 2008
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#11
Hi,

. But in strong winds when shooting on top of volcanoes in Indonesia, I've had to give up shooting because neither of these tripods are stable enough. The Sirui almost flew off :bsmilie:
That is a very strong wind :sweat:

Did you try to lower the columns to attain lower CG ?
 

Daoyin

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Nov 25, 2008
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#13
I've had to give up shooting because neither of these tripods are stable enough. The Sirui almost flew off :bsmilie:
Which Sirui model was it and do you think another (heavier) tripod would have worked under such conditions?
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#14
Hi,

Good thing I saw this thread as I was about to start a new thread on this topic. I've owned different tripods from Slik to Manfrotto to Benro to Sirui (can't get around to splurging on a Gitzo) and finally settled on the last two (Benro C-series and Sirui - the travel tripod mentioned in anther post). Both work fine in normal conditions. But in strong winds when shooting on top of volcanoes in Indonesia, I've had to give up shooting because neither of these tripods are stable enough. The Sirui almost flew off :bsmilie:

Would be eager to see recommendations to get around this problem.
Bro, I learnt a trick from a photography forum in US. It involves hanging a bag below the tripod as well but doing it differently.

Thing is a swaying bag is no good, because it adds to the instability. The way to get around it is to leave the bag on the floor at the bottom of the tripod. Then use, bungee cords (u know the elastic rope with hooks on the end) and hook the top handle of your bag to your tripod hook. Add more bands to get more tension. So you pull the tripod down with weight, but you do not get any problems from a swaying bag. Your bag needs to be heavier if you need more stability. You can stack other stuff on your bag, add some rocks to the top of your bag.
 

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asterixsg

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May 22, 2006
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#15
That is a very strong wind :sweat:

Did you try to lower the columns to attain lower CG ?
Yes, the wind was really very strong (on top of Mt Merbabu as well as on top of Mt. Rinjani). You mean not extending the legs, right ? (I never extend the centre column up anyways)

No, I didn't extend any of the legs.

i believed the bag is supposed to be touching the ground and not hanging in mid-air
Yeah, I know. The problem was that if I extended the legs and the bag was not touching the ground and it started to sway. If I didn't extend the legs, the height wasn't enough for the bag to be hung from the hook below the centre column.

Which Sirui model was it and do you think another (heavier) tripod would have worked under such conditions?
It was the Sirui Travel tripod T1204X. I suppose a heavier tripod would've worked. But I really don't know how heavy.

When I was on the summit of Merbabu, I setup my 5dMkII on top of the Sirui tripod, programmed the cable release to shoot 99 exposures (wanted to make a time lapse video later of the extending shadow of Merbabu). I happily turned around and started shooting silhouettes of Sumbing and Sindoro with my other camera. After a couple of minutes, I turned back and to my horror, the tripod had toppled !!! Lucky it fell on soft soil and not on any rocks, and that too not from a height (glad I didn't extend the legs) and the L bracket took most of the impact. I quickly tested the 5DMkII and it was alright. I forgot all about time lapse then :bsmilie:

I think daredevil's trick would work. The thing would be to extend the legs enough for the bag to go underneath and secure it down with bungee cords or strong elastic bands.

Bro, I learnt a trick from a photography forum in US. It involves hanging a bag below the tripod as well but doing it differently.

Thing is a swaying bag is no good, because it adds to the instability. The way to get around it is to leave the bag on the floor at the bottom of the tripod. Then use, bungee cords (u know the elastic rope with hooks on the end) and hook the top handle of your bag to your tripod hook. Add more bands to get more tension. So you pull the tripod down with weight, but you do not get any problems from a swaying bag. Your bag needs to be heavier if you need more stability. You can stack other stuff on your bag, add some rocks to the top of your bag.
Thanks for sharing this tip. Will try it out next time around.

I just wanted to hear what the rest of you folks do in such conditions. Has any of you used a heavier tripod in strong windy conditions and it has worked fine - including for long exposures.

Also, I don't think the travel tripods are meant for usage in such strong winds. That then beats the purpose of having a travel tripod. Aiyoh ...
 

Aug 2, 2010
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#16
Please do share once you shortlist the models. Thanks.[/QUOTE]

After a few days of reading up, narrowed down to these 3 vanguard CF alta pros:

Alta Pro 253CT - 1.66kg 3 sections
Alta Pro 254CT - 1.57kg 4 sections
Alta Pro 283CT - 1.7kg 3 sections

Have not physically check them out. The 253CT seems the best option is terms of weight and leg sections.

I'll give the manfrotto 190xprob a miss as I find the sliding in/out of the legs not as smooth as vanguards. But I think theres a newer 190x something which I have not seen yet.

hmm..seems like the weight difference of alum alloy vs cf is merely +/-300g but the price difference can be quite substantial. Its like carrying an extra can of coke in the bag. haa.
 

Aug 2, 2010
192
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#17
I just wanted to hear what the rest of you folks do in such conditions. Has any of you used a heavier tripod in strong windy conditions and it has worked fine - including for long exposures.

This is what i am after too. :) Sometimes just a tiny wee bit of movement, the pictures becomes soft...
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#18
I think daredevil's trick would work. The thing would be to extend the legs enough for the bag to go underneath and secure it down with bungee cords or strong elastic bands.
Thanks for sharing this tip. Will try it out next time around.
Bro, the bag needs to be resting on the floor and needs to heavy to stay down.. like a sand bag. ;)

I found the picture of how it was done, I left a comment there 15 months ago. LOL ... see here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharpshutter/689167959/
 

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Daoyin

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Nov 25, 2008
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#19
I just wanted to hear what the rest of you folks do in such conditions. Has any of you used a heavier tripod in strong windy conditions and it has worked fine - including for long exposures.

This is what i am after too. :) Sometimes just a tiny wee bit of movement, the pictures becomes soft...
And also for asterixsg.

I asked about whether a heavier tripod will help in the winds conditions he encountered because I have yet to find the solution. I am now of the opinion a heavier tripod (even up to 2 kg) will not do. You sway when the wind blows due to the force created by the wind velocity and the area of contact between your body and the wind. The wind velocities on mountains like Rinjani etc is strong and, I suspect on most days, will make the tripod sway ever so slightly resulting in blur pictures. Also the velocity is not constant which does not help.

For Rinjani there is another problem. The ground around the summit consists of loose small stones. Grounding a tripod and preventing the legs from moving among the pebbles is an extra problem.

Grounding a bag tied to the tripod will probably prevent it from toppling over but I suppose it will depend on the wind velocity to determine whether you will still get sharp pictures.

Best solution is to hide behind a big rock !
 

CamInit

Senior Member
Nov 3, 2009
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#20
Assuming the height is not too tall, how bout' a small folding chair and/or a bean bag? Not sure how practical that will be... :dunno:
 

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