Recommendation for tripod/monopod?


illumnae

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
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#1
Hi all!

I currently shoot with a Canon 600D and primarily shoot wildlife/birds (currently with a Tamron 70-300 VC) and macro (currently with a Canon 100 non-L). My mid-term plans to upgrade by year end are to purchase a Tamron 150-600 VC as well as a Canon 70D (unless the 7D2 or 80D are released and worth buying, in which case I'll get one of those instead).

I've been advised that for the heavy 150-600 lens, as well as for better macro shots, I will need to invest in a good tripod or monopod. Currently, my shooting habits are to visit nature parks like Hort Park, Botanical Gardens etc with my wife to shoot for a few hours on Saturday mornings. I hope to expand to more popular sites like Venus Drive, Lor Halus etc. We occasionally will also go to places like Sungei Buloh, Bird Park or the Zoo.

With the above in mind, can you recommend whether I should invest in a tripod or a monopod? If so, can you recommend one that would be sturdy enough to hold my above set up (including the Tamron 150-600VC and body upgrade)?

Thanks!
 

illumnae

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
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#2
Preference would be for Sirui branded tripod/monopod as it has good reviews and is affordable. Easily obtainable too at TK Foto!

I will be renting the 150-600 to test it out over the weekend at Sungei Buloh, and if possible would like to purchase the support system sometime before then.
 

Mar 1, 2012
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www.facebook.com
#3
Preference would be for Sirui branded tripod/monopod as it has good reviews and is affordable. Easily obtainable too at TK Foto!

I will be renting the 150-600 to test it out over the weekend at Sungei Buloh, and if possible would like to purchase the support system sometime before then.
The sub-$300 range of tripods may not be adequate enough for your big telephoto zooms. You might need to get even better ones. Since u know TK foto is the place to go, go there with ur rented lens and test n buy on the spot.
 

illumnae

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Jan 13, 2014
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#4
I understand longer/heavier lenses need more support, but the Tamron 150-600 is 1.9kg, nowhere near the weight of the telephoto primes and only 500g heavier than a 70-200 f2.8. With camera total weight would be about 2.5-2.6kg. The Sirui 2xxx tripods are rated for 15kg, over 5x actual weight. Are they not stable enough? How about the P3204 monopod?

Due to timing issues I'm unable to bring the lens to TK before the shoot.

Just to clarify, I'm not unwilling to pay for the higher range of tripod if needed, I am just asking whether or not it is needed for my situation as described. I will not be getting any heavier lenses than the Tamron for many years, and want to kit up accordingly instead of buying more than I need for now.
 

CarlPeter

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Mar 7, 2014
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#5
Then go with the old fashioned bi-pod, your arms. A good steady and strong
Posture will do the trick for sure. Get a tripod if money is a factor.
Remember though, breathing is a key factor in photography without tripods
breathe in, hold your breath and take the shot, then you will get rid of camera shake.
 

Feb 5, 2014
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#6
Get the MeFoto tripod and a good ballhead. Ball head is the more important factor to consider. I was using MeFoto and a Manfrotto ballhead and mounted my Canon 70-200 f2.8 on a 5D III shooting night sky with no problems
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#7
I understand longer/heavier lenses need more support, but the Tamron 150-600 is 1.9kg, nowhere near the weight of the telephoto primes and only 500g heavier than a 70-200 f2.8. With camera total weight would be about 2.5-2.6kg. The Sirui 2xxx tripods are rated for 15kg, over 5x actual weight. Are they not stable enough? How about the P3204 monopod?

Due to timing issues I'm unable to bring the lens to TK before the shoot.

Just to clarify, I'm not unwilling to pay for the higher range of tripod if needed, I am just asking whether or not it is needed for my situation as described. I will not be getting any heavier lenses than the Tamron for many years, and want to kit up accordingly instead of buying more than I need for now.
If you are talking about long focal lengths, it is not just about weight but more about how vibrations are handled... Because at long focal lengths, every minute shake is amplified. Considering just max weight is no longer relevant. I experienced this personally. For photography using long lenses, support is critical.
 

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illumnae

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Jan 13, 2014
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#8
Thanks for the clarification dd123! Would you recommend a tripod or monopod based on my shooting habits and which Sirui model would you recommend for the 150-600 on a crop body? :)
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#9
I don't really shoot with 600mm lenses, but for what I know, you can forget about using a tiny winy ball head for long lenses, it is such a pain to use, gimbal head is the way to go, sadly such gear is very very expensive, not sure where can you rent one and try.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#10
Thanks for the clarification dd123! Would you recommend a tripod or monopod based on my shooting habits and which Sirui model would you recommend for the 150-600 on a crop body? :)
600mm on crop (1.5x) is 900mm. You can try with monopod first. Personally, at I need a tripod. And not just any tripod, a systematic style tripod.
 

CarlPeter

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Mar 7, 2014
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#11
I use a Manfrotto Triman Tripod with a Manfrotto X Pro 3 Ballhead for my D3s, but it is expensive however it is strong and good so will last.
 

Blur Shadow

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2005
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#14
You would need a good and sturdy tripod, and, more importantly, a good tripod head that provides stability as well as rapid adjustments as you pan and tilt.

For the tripod, I would recommend a good carbon fiber tripod, as the heft of your other equipment is significant. You may as well pamper yourself a little with a light-weight but sturdy tripod. Many contenders here, including Sirui, Gitzo, Really Right Stuff etc.

For the tripod head, I would not bother with the 3-way pan head and the ball head. Get a good Wimberley tripod head. That will be good enough to last you for a really long time.
 

illumnae

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
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#15
Would a Sirui M-3204X tripod be suitable? Rated for up to 18kg (>6x the actual weight of my equipment), is tall enough so that I can swing the camera upwards to shoot birds in trees, and can convert to a monopod for the times a tripod is not suitable to lug around.

Which Wimberly tripod head would be good? I was looking at the Jobu BWG-J3K or the BWG-M1, which are recommended for the similarly sized Sigma 150-500 lens (it's only 100g lighter) on the TK Foto website. I can't find the price for the BWG-J3K though.

Any thoughts on the above gear?
 

Turbonetics

Senior Member
Feb 19, 2009
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#16
how heavy is your camera and lens?
generally i would recommend u to get a tripod instead of monopod first due to the focal length(above 400mm) u are using,u can start off with Sirui systematic tripod for more stability against those with centre column and Jobu JR3 should suffice or what u mentioned BWG.
These are not cheap but one of the cheapest options and value for money set up.Should be more than enough for your set up.

to add on,u can also consider getting a Sirui monopod(only $100plus) together and asked for better deal since you are buying all in a bundle.
 

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illumnae

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
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#17
Thanks! My intended upgrades this year put my heaviest potential setup at: Tamron 150-600 (1.9kg) + Canon 70d (~700g) = ~2.6kg. I will not be upgrading from this setup for a long long time (as I don't intend to splurge on any of the long reaching primes)

My other use for the tripod would be macro, which would be using the Canon 100 (non-L) (total will be ~1.3kg)

I was looking at the Sirui M-3204X as it seems pretty heavy duty (3xxx series) and can still be converted into a monopod when required. Also about $200 cheaper than the R3203, which is the systematic version.

The Sirui systematic versions only extend to max 150cm - would this be too short? I'm not very tall (1.73m only), but I notice that I tend to shoot upwards alot, which would increase the required height of the camera on a tripod. The M-3204X is more than sufficient height as it extends to about 177cm. Would it be too unstable for a setup that is under 3kg?
 

user12343

Senior Member
May 15, 2005
1,032
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#18
for selection of tripods, usually the max tripod height (without the center column extended) should reach your chest level. 3 section (which is more stable) or 4 section (which is more compact) depends on individual preferences.
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#19
Would a Sirui M-3204X tripod be suitable? Rated for up to 18kg (>6x the actual weight of my equipment), is tall enough so that I can swing the camera upwards to shoot birds in trees, and can convert to a monopod for the times a tripod is not suitable to lug around.

Which Wimberly tripod head would be good? I was looking at the Jobu BWG-J3K or the BWG-M1, which are recommended for the similarly sized Sigma 150-500 lens (it's only 100g lighter) on the TK Foto website. I can't find the price for the BWG-J3K though.

Any thoughts on the above gear?
I was using the M-3204x with a Jobu Jr gimbal head in the beginning. Even with the gimbal head fully locked down, everytime my mirror slaps, the view in the viewfinder keeps bobbling up and down. And this is only 600mm (300 + 2xTC). With 960mm (600 + 1.6x APS-C crop), I am sure it will shake even more. Some might say, how can the shake affect your shots if you are shooting birds at very high shutter speed. It was affecting me alot because when using spot AF, the shaking makes my continuous focusing aim at wrong areas of the bird at times especially when firing in continuous drive, giving me a lot of misfocused shots. So yes, the shake matters a lot when tracking birds.

Only when I upgraded to the Sirui R-4203 did I solve the shaking problem. I recommend you get at least the R3203.

The M3204x actually has sufficient weight load wise, as my setup is around 4.5 kg (almost 4x). But like I said in an earlier post, it is no longer about weight load ratings, but the structure of the tripod, and how it is able to counter any vibrations and movement.
 

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illumnae

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
82
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Singapore
#20
It's me again! Based on your recommendations, I have been saving up for a Sirui R3203 + PH-20 Gimbal/K40X Ballhead.

Today on Facebook, TK Foto posted new stocks of a M-3203X. Would that be suitable since it's a "3203" series as well? Since I last posted, I've upgraded to a Canon 70D + Tamron 150-600mm (total weight about 2.6kg). For macro, I'll still be using the 100mm (non-IS) with the 70D. Another tripod that I thought looked good is the Feisol CT-3472LV that was recently reviewed on this forum. However, I do note that the Sirui M-3203X and the Feisol CT-3472LV both come as a set with a centre column. If the centre column is left totally unextended or the short centre column used, would it be able to counter the vibrations and movement for my setup?

Another query is that I would like to get a Sirui tripod for my wife as well, for birding and macro as well. Her setup is a lot lighter than mine - she shoots with an Olympus EM-10 with Olympus 75-300 II and Olympus 60mm Macro. Which tripod would you recommend for her?
 

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